Located in idyllic Rosemary Beach, on Florida’s Emerald Coast, Havana Beach Bar & Grill opens in July at the new 55-room luxury hotel, The Pearl. The culinary program led by executive chef Michael Guerra, explores an ingredient-driven cuisine that redefines what it means to live and cook on the southern gulf, featuring a harmonic fusion of the flavors and ingredients of the Creole back country, Mexican fishing villages, and the soul of Cuba.
Chef Guerra joins The Pearl from the Montage Deer Valley in Utah, where he served as executive banquet chef and restaurant chef. The lifelong self-proclaimed “culinarian” brings passion for gulf coast cuisine to The Pearl’s food and beverage program, focusing on the development of key relationships with local purveyors. Chef Guerra crafts his menu around the freshest products from artisans in the region including Sexton’s Seafood Market, Ocheesee Creamery, and Camp Flowers Honey, among others, in order to offer an unparalleled destination venue for guests to discover and celebrate ingredients and flavors indigenous to the southern coastal region.
“Along the coastline that follows the Gulf of Mexico you find regionally-inspired cuisine reflecting the local growers, purveyors, and fishermen available in the region,” Guerra says. “Highlighting the individuality found along this coastline inspires the menu for Havana Beach.”
On Guerra’s Havana Beach menu a classic corn chowder is accented with blue crab, house cured bacon, and Creole vegetables, while Shrimp N’ Grits features local Florida shrimp, crisp spicy ham, and Adluh South Carolina Stone Ground Grits. A riff on a classic, Havana Beach’s Mama’s Chicken Biscuits are made with farm raised fried chicken served alongside housemade buttermilk biscuits and The Pearl’s own artisan honey. For a taste of the best seafood along the gulf, guests enjoy an assortment of fresh local chilled seafood including Apalachicola oysters on the half shell, boiled fresh Florida shrimp, Florida little neck clams, and crab claws.
The dessert menu highlights favorite southern flavors, including peaches and pecans in the Peach Buckle with Chantilly cream and candied pecans, and an update on the classic Ice Box Lemon Pie with sweet lemon filling served in a meringue cup and graham cracker crust. An assortment of handcrafted ice creams and sorbets from local, family-owned Southern Craft Creamery are featured as well.
Complementing the coastal fare is a beverage menu carefully crafted by The Pearl’s Director of Restaurants and industry veteran, Sara Reese. Featuring a selection of classic cocktails served from a hand-carved mahogany bar reminiscent of Ernest Hemingway’s Havana home, the menu honors the spirits traditional to the southern coastal region. Fittingly, the Hemingway Daiquiri with Havana Club Rum, Maraschino Liquor, grapefruit juice, and lime is a signature, while the Limoncello Collins with housemade Troy & Son’s White Whiskey Limoncello, Right Gin, and club soda will prove to be a local favorite.
“By highlighting traditional Southern cocktails that effortlessly embrace the cuisine, the Havana Beach Bar evokes a certain classic quality,” Sara Reese says. “The bar feels familiar and inviting—like it has always been there.”
The focal point of Havana Beach’s vibrant and welcoming atmosphere is the Veranda, an open dining area featuring a backdrop of Rosemary Beach’s charming Main Street and the stunning scenery of the Gulf of Mexico. The Veranda’s traditional dining room offers views of sprawling greens, while a more casual cocktail area features plush couches and armchairs catering to the relaxed seaside vibe. “Table 63”, a roundtable named for the hotel’s Main Street address, is perfectly situated on The Veranda, offering six guests an unparalleled view of the picturesque Emerald Coast.