Odds are, if you have gone out for a night on the town in the recent years in Miami Beach, you've gone to a Menin Hospitality concept. Quickly becoming the kings of the South Beach dining and partying scene, they are the guys behind spots like Bodega, Radio Bar, Red Ginger and the Gale Hotel. But not one to rest on their laurels, they are quickly expanding with two new concepts later this year — and Eater Miami sat down with managing principal Jared Galbut to get the scoop.
So first and foremost how has it been going with your new culinary director, Bernie Matz?
It's actually been going amazing. Bernie actually came to us a couple of years ago. It was right during when all that Alton Road construction was happening down here so he had a restaurant down here and he ended up having to close it down because of all the crazy construction that was going on and he was trying to figure out his next move. I literally just had bumped into him.
We started talking and I actually saw him. We're getting a cup of coffee and we started talking what are we doing? I always loved all his concepts previously when he was at Books and Books. I said, "Listen, we're really starting to expand the food and beverage side of our things. We'd love to have someone on board for you." I told him we were doing this crazy Mexican restaurant that is going to be called Bodega and I need someone to help create this vision I have for these tacos. We're trying but we got him over and then ever since then it's been a beautiful marriage.
He oversees all the food component of the restaurant part?
Yeah. He was initially hired on just for Bodega and then he slowly taken over and really watched overall the restaurants for us. Really, his job now is heading up, getting all the talent and all the chefs and making sure that culinary-wise we're heading in the right direction.
Absolutely. Speaking of culinary, you guys got two exciting concepts in the works? Let's start with the first one set to open, Bakehouse.
Yes, Bakehouse is really ... It's just a really great exciting concept for us. We've never done French in the past. For us, we always like to see what the neighborhood needs and going in there we had these two spaces and one we realized it was Asian, like in Asian component down in South of Fifth. Really, an everyday go-to restaurant and we decided to give it a more French theme to it, was something that that area is needing. Red Ginger obviously opened up first. Now, with Bakehouse coming, it's really going to be the everyday casual or fast casual restaurant that the the South of Fifth is, we believe, needing and wanting.
It's going to be a fast casual concept?
Relatively fast casual, a lot of it. Sometimes during breakfast it would be a quick grab and go for the first part of it, bake goods, grab a coffee. We're doing a partnership with Panther Coffee. Just the really stuff. Then, lunch, it would be more. We'll have servers as well and as we go into dinner but it will be a very casual environment. In and out in 30, 45 minutes. We're looking at opening that on April 1 if everything goes well.
Then, the second concept you guys have in the pipeline is Ricky's?
We have a space next to Bodega and we really wanted to do something different and do a little throwback, a little kind of 80's throwback to it. We have a simple design as it starts coming out more and more. Then, in terms of the food component, we wanted to do just a really simplified menu. A lot of the items that you'll see there is almost going to be very similar how you walk into a counter or a truck or whatever it is. At Bodega, you're going to walk up over there and maybe there's going to be 8 to 10 items but they're really simple. A lot of the stuff we're going to do is smoked, a lot of different types of smoked meats.
Also, have hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, stuff like that but done really in a cool way. I don't want to get too into it because I want it to be a surprise. It's going to be, as you know, anything we do is wild in the spot. It's not going to be your normal hamburger and hot dog. Looking to open it I'd say middle of summer, middle or late summer.
Is there going to be a nightlife component to that space as well?
Always. Everything we do has a bar component to it. We're going to do a fun bar component to it. It's going to be a little bit more casual than Bodega but it's going to have spirits and beers and whiskies and stuff like that. It will be a fun environment where we'll have live music and maybe some DJs once in awhile. It'll be more of a very cool casual laid back. If you want to go grab a bite at Ricky's, you can go back there and grab a beer or shot a whisky and just keep it a fun easy night.
So is the bar going to be separate from the food like it is at Bodega?
Somewhat. We've got little fun games in there as well. We've got maybe some old or new, throwback arcade games. Like I said, a little bit more laid back than Bodega in terms of the atmosphere. Just a really easy going local bar.
You guys have plenty of restaurants and bars across around the town. What's going on with your current places?
We always have a lot of stuff even with our current places. Red Ginger, I think opening it up when we did, we had maybe a different concept or feeling of what we wanted for it and what I think that we do best is we're not your local or we're not your normal restaurant tour. We really sit down and talk with our guests and understand them and hear their community. A lot of it was just making adjustments to some of our menu. We did that recently. We've had such an amazing feedback. Whether it's making some items a little more approachable and making it really more kind of a local restaurant but still maintaining that great vibe atmosphere that we have on the weekends, and opening up for lunch. Lunch is a big thing for us. The restaurants, they are open for lunch and have great three-course menu.
We did something very similar. You can come to lunch and you can choose anything from our soups and salads. You can get a great fish and chips. We added a burger on the menu. We have a great Bento box so you can experience our sushi program and also some of our fried rice. It's just a great atmosphere for anyone coming for a business meeting.
Anything else going on new and noteworthy at any of your other spots?
South Florida is our home. We're always looking for potential opportunities. I think that really the best is yet to come for us and we're going to really be ... I think over the next couple of, a year or two, we're really going to be kicking in a high gear down here.