Niven Patel’s much-anticipated new restaurant Mamey inside the Thesis Hotel Miami (1350 South Dixie Highway) officially opens its doors to the public today. The Caribbean-influenced eatery in the heart of Coral Gables boasts a menu full of flavors and spices commonly found in tropical cuisine, alongside a cocktail menu designed by the Bar Lab team.
The restaurant, which offers ample outdoor dining and takeout nightly, features an eclectic array of dishes with inspiration from Asia, Polynesia, and the Caribbean, featuring plenty of produce from Patel’s own two-acre Homestead farm, Rancho Patel. Dishes like Bahamian conch fritters, corn and callaloo empanadas, Creole mahi, Trini roti, wahoo ceviche, tuna tostones, Brussels sprout pad Thai, and more can be found on the eclectic menu. The ghee-cooked jerk plantains — a subtle nod to his award-winning restaurant, Ghee Indian Kitchen — are currently Patel’s personal favorite on the menu, along with the Jerk Sandia cocktail, made with mezcal, watermelon, lemon balm, pomegranate, and jerk spice.
And while most people know Patel for his modern take on Indian cuisine, which has received high praise from diners and critics alike, earning him several James Beard semifinalist nominations, Patel notes that he spent a few years in the Caribbean and learned many of his recipes and techniques from locals during his time there.
“I spent two and a half years in Grand Cayman, so I got really immersed in that kind of cuisine,” Patel says. “It was learning a lot of very traditional flavors. Even when I was there, I would try to learn from the locals and add my little touches to it. So a lot of it was taking those inspirations and applying them to this restaurant.”
Opening a restaurant during the coronavirus pandemic, when restaurants are highly regulated, isn’t an easy task, Patel admits. But he adds that his experience with implementing the new slew of safety precautions outlined by “New Normal” guidelines released in May at his Downtown Dadeland eatery, Ghee, as a huge help for opening Mamey with the same protocols in place.
“Since we have Ghee operational, we were able to work through a lot of the safety guidelines and make them streamlined and efficient,” Patel says. “The biggest thing here is we’re building a whole new team. A lot of the team members that we were hired were actually furloughed for the last four to five months; this is actually their first job back. Just acclimating them to how the world operates in our industry now was the biggest thing. Even outside of the restaurant being safe, it’s beyond our four walls. Creating that culture of safety in their personal lives.”
While the restaurant is located inside a hotel, it always intended to do takeout-style room service in lieu of the more traditional cart-delivery service, which worked to Mamey’s advantage as takeout has now become the norm for many diners.
“We were already thinking about packaging, how it’s going to look, how it’s going to travel. So it was easy to pivot to that,” Patel notes.
Mamey is now open for dinner night from 5 to 9 p.m. with plans to debut lunch service soon. Takeout and delivery through third-party apps is also available. Book a reservation here.