After months of Fabio Viviani sightings at every food event in town, the wait is finally over -- starting Monday, November 10 at 6 p.m. Siena Tavern Miami is officially open for business.
This will be the second outpost for the much-buzzed about Italian eatery from Chicago's DineAmic Group. The first one located in the Windy City's River North neighborhood has been filling up seats daily for almost two years, garnering many accolades and celebrity spottings along the way.
Viviani's business partners David Rekhson and Lucas Stoioff are hoping to find the same success on South Beach. They told Eater Miami that they have been eyeing spots for a restaurant concept in South Florida since 2007 but no location fit the mold until the China Grill Miami location in the South of Fifth neighborhood opened up close to year and a half ago.
"We look for blend similar to that in Chicago -- residential, tourism and business," noted Rekhson. "South of Fifth is an area where there is a lot of high-end residential buildings and people to give it a neighborhood feel. It's important to us to be able to tap into the local market and have people around us and make it a place people could frequent more than once a week."
The guys aren't nervous about taking over the iconic 10,000-square-foot venue, spending the last year renovating the space. While it will still keep a lot of the same design elements as its Chicago location, Rekhson and Stoioff tell Eater that the Miami location is more "glamorous" with lighter interior tones and more outdoor seating.
House-made pastas, cheeses and pizzas are the stars of the menu along with its staple dishes like the Wagyu Beer Meatball and Gnocchi with Truffle Cream and Crispy Pancetta. As for the Miami kitchen, led by former Casa Tua chef Paolo del Papa, expect a larger crudo and raw bar selections than its Chicago sister. And because of its close proximity to the beach many dishes have been "lightened up" so you don't have to worry about looking pudgy in that bikini after your meal.
Keeping with the local trend Siena Tavern Miami called upon the Bar Lab guys to create their drink program, featuring plenty of citrus-based drinks and light "sippable" wines along with a special "Siena Brew" made just for them by Wynwood Brewing Company.
Siena Tavern Miami will be open daily for dinner and in a few months for brunch. No lunch or happy hour plans are in the works as of now, but the partners seem open to it if the demand is there. And unlike many restaurants on South Beach, Siena Tavern Miami actually has parking, housing a lot that can hold up to 300 cars right above the restaurant.
As for pre-opening jitters? There doesn't seem to be many. The team is confident that the restaurant will be embraced by the community because, "the people here are similar to Chicago in that they appreciate effort and good service when they get it, and they recognize when something is high-quality," notes Stoioff.