Arjun Waney, the investor behind coveted restaurants like Zuma, La Petite Maison and the upcoming London-import Coya, has teamed up with Zuma partners Tunu and Yona Puri to open a new seafood-oriented, Italian-influenced restaurant called Tamarina. The eatery will take over the Puris now-shuttered Lippi sometime early fall. Eater spoke to Puri on what's to be expected at his new restaurant, what he thinks will lure guests back to the space and more.
On Lippi's shutter, you've been quoted saying that Miami just isn't ready for a place like Lippi. Can you expand on that?
Well, my feeling is that such a large restaurant like we had, over 200 seats, to have the concept, the business model we had... I think the restaurant was too big to work. I think if it was smaller at 100-120 seats, it would have been fine.
What then will be different at Tamarina that will make it a better fit?
We have two menus there and two sections where we'll be serving food. We'll have the bar café menu and the restaurant menu and we also have the oyster menu. We are basically influenced quite a lot by seafood and Italian. So, first the pricing that will be in the bar café will be extremely affordable, so more people who are on Brickell will be able to enjoy that. The average check will be very reasonable.
What do you think will make Tamarina stand out as an Italian restaurant in Miami?
It will be Italian-influenced and I think it's basically a question of the style of cooking. So, you know, Mr. Waney, one of our partners, he has Italian restaurants in London. Quite a lot of the recipes and how to prepare the dishes will come from there. I think the ambience and the atmosphere together with the food offerings will make this an attractive place for people to come.
What are you most excited about with the new concept?
Our feeling is that this will be something that many people will be able to enjoy.
What's it been like working with Arjun Waney?
He's a personal friend of mine and the co-founder of Zuma, Coya, La Petit Maison and the Arts Club and, of course, they have all of these places globally. So, he has been very helpful in setting up Tamarina. And then of course our designer, who is redoing the décor is David d'Almada, who did the Arts Club and many other restaurants in London. He has been working with my wife, Yona, for a very long period. As a matter of fact they are both here. He arrived from London the other night. He's here to make sure that his vision comes out correctly in the décor.
When can we expect Tamarina to open?
We are trying for October 14. If it's not the 14, it will be the 15 - something like that.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Well, I'd like to thank all the very talented people who have helped us in putting Tamarina together. We are very grateful for that help.
· All Coverage of Tamarina [EMIA]
· All Coverage of Tunu Puri [EMIA]