[Photo from Lippi]
It's been one week since Lippi opened in Brickell. Tunu Puri from Zuma fame opened Lippi as his first independent project. We spoke to owner Tunu in the height of dinner service about the first week at Lippi; the highs, the lows, and what we have to look forward to in the future. Here's what he had to say:
Lippi is your first independent project since Zuma. How has the process been different? TP: Zuma changed the gastronomy of Miami. My hope for Lippi is to elevate the standard that's been created not only in Miami but specifically in Brickell. We opened Lippi in the Brickell World Plaza for it to be a downtown city restaurant with a waterfront terrace. Our concept hasn't been seen before in Miami.
Overall, how was the first weekend there?
TP: We've had a great first week. We had a really soft opening where we didn't do any publicity so we've been under the radar from our end.
What's the feedback so far? TP: Looking around, people are here, people are eating. It's a great thing to see. Ultimately, we'll see the reaction in a few weeks. People will come and decide for themselves.
What was the best part about the opening? TP: We had three months of food tastings for the menu. Chef Philippe Ruiz formerly of Palme d'Or at the Biltmore Hotel is our executive chef so you can imagine.
And the worst? TP: There was no worst part. For our style of restaurant, where we succeed is in our team. Our entire team is made up of the ultimate professionals, from the kitchen, to management, to design helmed by my wife Yona, to staff. We play a different game. We have a staff of 75 so it's all teamwork.
What was your inspiration? TP: I am from India originally. I've spent my life traveling to places based on their food. I've always wanted to be in this industry so to bring together my love for traveling and my love for food was the inspiration behind Lippi. Our menu is new American with Mediterranean touches.
Anything in store for the future? TP: The season is only starting so this is just the beginning for us. By December/January we will be open seven days a week for all meal services. Right now we offer lunch & dinner Monday - Friday, and dinner on Saturdays. Come December, we will also introduce a great weekend brunch buffet.
If you could travel back in time and give yourself advice for the opening, what would it be? TP: Opening Lippi was a big learning process for me. I have no regrets and can say I am very satisfied with the result. We built and opened this restaurant in 17 months. We built Lippi for the people of Miami. They need to be satisfied, so when they come to Lippi and see the atmosphere and design, taste the food, experience the service - these are the key things that I've learned need to be provided for the best dining experience. What we do here is provide a higher standard. That's what I wanted to accomplish and I feel that we have.
— Aleksandra Marcotte
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