Hector Rolotti left the Argentine province of Córdoba in 1990 to begin a culinary lifetime that would far surpass his sudden death in 2014. His Argentinian-inspired bistro, Novecento, continues to thrive throughout South Florida with the same neighborly values he breathed into the company at its inception.
Novecento was born out of an ice cream shop in Soho, New York, in 1991. Influenced by the movie “Novecento” by Bernardo Bertolucci, Rolotti created a space for people to gather—for Sunday dinner, a business luncheon, a date night, or a soccer match with friends.
Known for its premium steaks, Argentinian flair, pasta dishes, and farm-fresh ingredients, Novecento outgrew its Soho roots and branched out internationally: Canitas, Argentina; Punta Del Este, Uruguay; and Cordoba, Argentina.
The crux of Novecento’s personality as a brand is bringing the joy of Rolotti’s childhood in Argentina to the U.S. and beyond; it was not long before Novecento came to Miami Beach in 2002, eventually nestling into Brickell, Key Biscayne, Doral, and Aventura. Guests enjoyed the handmade empanadas, gnocchi, and wines imported from Argentina.
- Founders: Hector Rolotti (now owned by SuViche Hospitality Group)
- HQ: Miami
- Cuisine type: Argentinian
- Units: 4
The restaurant also boasts a large brunch menu, with bubbly cocktail lists featuring mimosas and bottomless sangrias. Breakfast staples include the chorizo scramble, salmon toast, and the Novecento benedict.
After becoming a staple in South Florida’s bistro scene for 19 years, Rolotti’s death rocked the community. While his legacy lives on through Novecento’s iconic Argentinian influence, the torch was passed to SuViche Hospitality Group in 2018 through a successful acquisition.
SuViche Hospitality Group was launched in 2010 by brothers Aliosha and Andrei Stern, who grew the concept from a 10-seat restaurant to three concepts in under a decade: SuViche, ChiFa, and Novecento.
CEO Aliosha Stern was careful to keep the original vision of Novecento intact, visiting Buenos Aires to deepen his relationship with the brand’s essence. His goal was to carefully revitalize the concept for an ever-changing world.
“Novecento has adapted and evolved through the decades, but the mission has never changed,” Stern says. “It is a family-orientated Argentinian restaurant. But we took a 30-year-old brand knowing these are modern times we are living in with new expectations.”
The South Florida-based hospitality group restructured everything from design, menu, and service, zeroing in on smoothing backend operations and introducing a “less is more” approach with the help of advanced technology. According to Stern, supporting team members’ day-to-day duties with tech creates happy guests.
Next, Stern asked himself how to transform the Novecento guest’s digital experience through takeout, deliveries, and third-party partners. He implemented a series of software systems that aligned with SuViche’s other brands, creating a streamlined network across the board.
“When the pandemic hit, we didn’t need to make many adjustments from a technology aspect,” Stern adds. “We use tech for everything: our chefs, our front-of-house, and our back-of-house. This helps them execute a consistent experience.”
Since the acquisition, two Novecento locations opened in the Miami restaurant scene, including two non-traditional locations at LoanDepot Park and HardRock Stadium. Stern has also overseen the renovation of the flagship Brickell and Aventura locations, inviting guests to rediscover the brand.
Moving away from the pandemic, rising inflation has put pressure on the revitalization efforts, shares Stern.
“Construction has been a challenge, and it really changes your business model,” Stern says. “You need to be creative in the way you do business. It is difficult, but it is a part of the journey, and it has been fun for us.”
The newly reopened Brickell restaurant features a 6,481 square-foot dining space, with an innovative temperature and humidity-controlled dry-aging facility as well as a “Chef’s Table” where guests can get a behind-the-scenes look at cooking processes. A speakeasy-style bar was also revealed in late 2023.
Both the Brickell and Aventura locations feature a mural of Lionel Messi, Inter Miami CF’s top soccer player. The canvas seeks to foster deeper relationships between Novecento and its community, and was hand-painted by local artist Alexander Mijares.
Stern believes interior design and construction updates seek not to redefine Novecento’s legacy, but rather enhance it. Through décor accents, traditions, and menu changes, he hopes to pay homage to Novecento’s founders while modernizing the brand.
Additionally, as Stern works to update Novecento’s menu and launch a new wine and bar program, supply chain complications have put operational systems to the test. For example, he has been wrestling with the trend of slimming down menus without impacting guests. His answer? Streamlining day-to-day operations with technology to battle the outward pressures and growing pains.
“We’ve been careful in this process, because a brand with such a history is delicate,” Stern says. “We’ve taken our time in the past four or five years, learning about Novecento and doing guest surveys to know what is important to our customers.”
Pushing Novecento into future generations and making sure it speaks to a wider audience continues to be at the forefront of Stern’s mind as he thinks about strategic growth. He speaks of plans to consolidate in 2025, while meeting the expectations of three decades’ worth of customers.
As Miami continues to embark on what Stern calls a “renaissance of the food industry,” he hopes the healthy competition will usher Novecento to the next level in terms of guest experience and the brand’s reach on South Floridian culture.
“We’re looking to grow Novecento in its specific niche and solidify ourselves as a leading hospitality group here in Miami,” Stern says. “Not only with our concepts, but differentiating ourselves by the impact we make on the people that we serve and the people that work with us.”