This is The Gatekeepers, in which Eater roams the city meeting the fine ladies and gentlemen that stand between you and some of your favorite hard-to-get tables.
Juvia’s general manager, the Parisian born Antoine Lecas has worked in the industry since he was 17 years old. A few years ago he moved to Miami to work for Jeff Soffer at the Fontainebleau, then moved to New York to work at the Boom Boom Room, and, when Jonas Millan was getting ready to open a restaurant in Miami, he tapped him to be the GM at Juvia, a restaurant garnering a whole lotta buzz in its infancy at the 1111 building on Lincoln. And here's a few reasons why:
It's 8 p.m. on a Saturday night. What's the wait for a table?
With a reservation, we try to maintain a wait time of 15 minutes or less.
What about earlier in the night?
It depends on how booked we are that evening, but it is usually easier to accommodate walk-ins at 6 p.m.
Is there anything I can do to make my wait shorter? How about gifts or cash to speed things along?
Our door runs on honesty and fairness. We accommodate people based on their reservation time and arrival time.
Tell us about your favorite customers.
Being that we opened less than a month ago, every customer has been our "favorite".
You're pretty new in town, but the buzz is loud. Let's say a celebrity walks in and the place is packed. What do you do with said celebrity?
If a celeb walks in, we can offer them to enjoy views of Miami Beach from the indoor bar or outside at the communal table, while they have a few cocktails and we try to accommodate a table as fast as we can. We make sure that all of our staff gives them as much attention as possible (without overwhelming them) so that they feel special and welcome.
How do you deal with VIPs when there are no tables left to give them?
We treat our VIPs like celebrities.
What's the most outrageous request from a customer that you've accommodated?
This past Saturday night, two young beautiful women fell in love with our young and charming DJ David Rondon and asked to dine with him at the table in front of the DJ booth. We were obliged to have him comply with their request.
Any requests you couldn't accommodate?
We had a customer ask if we could accommodate a table in our fountain so that he may have his feet in the water while enjoying his meal.
What's your favorite seat in the house(s)?
My favorite seat in the house is called the “chef's table". It is a beautiful table located in front of our ceviche bar that offers a close-up view of our chefs making magic happen in Juvia’s open-kitchen.
Any secret off the menu items people can order?
What's so great about our menu is that we offer a wide variety of dishes. We believe people will not have to request anything other than the menu items. However, our ever-changing specials, add a different touch to our daily menu.
When you're not at Juvia where are you eating?
I’m home with my family, usually cooking because that is what I truly love to do.
What's your most important gatekeeper tool?
Mathilde Leger. She is the one running the door.
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