Grove Bay Hospitality Group—the Coconut Grove-based restaurant and development firm behind the acclaimed Glass & Vine restaurant, with chef Giorgio Rapicavoli and the highly anticipated Stiltsville Fish Bar, with famed culinary duo Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth—is taking a slice of the Brickell City Centre pie this fall. The hospitality group is unveiling not one but two new concepts—Big Easy Winebar & Grill by Ernie Els and American Harvest —both debuting on November 3, 2016.
Big Easy Winebar & Grill will be a casual yet sophisticated grill room hailing from the Western Cape region of South Africa, considered by many to be South Africa’s answer to Napa Valley. Inspired by the lifestyle and spirit of South Africa’s golf icon turned winemaker Ernie Els, affectionately nicknamed “The Big Easy” for his manner, big stature and gentle character. The Hall of Fame golfer has partnered with South Florida’s unstoppable new boutique hospitality firm to import the cuisine, wines, décor and hospitality from Els’ homeland. The opening of the Miami location will signal the arrival of the concept’s first U.S. location; it already enjoys acclaim in three locations in South Africa and Dubai.
“Working with Els and winemaker Louis Strydom is an honor for us,” says Eddie Acevedo, partner and chief operating officer of Grove Bay Hospitality Group. “Louis is a gifted and passionate winemaker devoted to capturing the unique terroir of the region in every vintage he makes. The opportunity to bring to Miami the only restaurant tied to his vineyard is extremely exciting. Collaboration is a key component to Grove Bay’s approach: Giorgio with Glass & Vine, Jeff and Janine with Stiltsville, Els and Strydom with the Big Easy Winebar & Grill, and more to come in the Grove. Working with driven, creative, industry leaders keeps us motivated and has us, ideally, setting trends rather than chasing them.”
Bringing South Africa’s authentic cuisine to South Florida’s culinary scene will be Executive Chef Maryna Frederiksen, a seasoned native from the motherland with a worldly resume including the AAA Five Diamond and James Beard Award-winning The Herbfarm in Washington, Holden Manz Wine Estate in South Africa and California Grill inside Walt Disney World’s Contemporary Resort. Frederiksen will introduce South Florida natives and visitors to South African comfort food, which pulls influences from Dutch and Indian cultures, amongst others.
Big Easy Winebar & Grill is a culinary experience that is first and foremost a superb grill restaurant; thus it boasts a strong line-up of succulent prime cut steaks and a selection of outstanding meats including South African delicacies such as Springbok Loin and Ostrich Fillet alongside the ever-popular Big Easy Burger. Also from Ernie’s homeland are Bobotie Spring Rolls (sweet ground beef curry with spice chutney), Grilled Boerewors (one of Ernie’s personal favorites) and Sosatie Grilled Mini Skewers of beef, pork, lamb and chicken with tasty dips. From the ocean you’ll find only the finest fresh fish, much of which celebrates Florida’s sensational seafood and Latin influence, including Fresh Stone Crabs, Peekytoe Crab Cake, Line-caught Florida Snapper with Peri-Peri Sauce, Local Shellfish Bouillabaisse and Lobster & Langoustine Duo. Other irresistible dishes on Big Easy Winebar & Grill’s diverse, seasonally-driven menu include juicy Mozambique Tiger Prawns, Pan Fried Sea Bass, Braised Pork Belly, Carpaccio of Tuna, Cape Rock Lobster Risotto, Ceviche, Sashimi and the spectacular Big Easy Shellfish Platter.
Equally as important as the cuisine will be Big Easy Winebar & Grill’s beverage program, featuring a hand-selected wine list including award-winning varietals from Ernie Els Wines’ diverse selection.
“One of the really wonderful things about Big Easy Winebar & Grill is the opportunity it gives Louis and me to share our passion for wine and to introduce our portfolio of wines, of which we’re extremely proud, to a wider audience,” Els says.
The program will encourage guests to dive into the world of wines with an approachable, easy-to-navigate global selection. The 5,592-square-foot space, seating 200 indoors and outdoors, will help transport guests to the heart of South Africa’s wine country with its subtle choice of imported woods adding warmth alongside other regional decorative interior accents such as natural ropes, clay pottery, leather seats and whitewashed brick walls. When Brickell City Centre opens to the public on November 3, Big Easy Winebar & Grill by Ernie Els will begin serving weekday lunch from 11:30 a.m.; dinner nightly from 4 to 11 p.m. and Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Adjacent to the Big Easy Winebar & Grill will be American Harvest, satisfying South Florida’s demand for farm fresh, fast-casual dining. In keeping with today’s desire for authentic preparations and transparent sourcing, American Harvest will be devoted to clean eating, responsibly sourcing the highest quality, freshest ingredients available in the marketplace. The concept will offer guests a modern interpretation of timeless, multi-ethnic comfort cooking.
The menu will overflow with options. Salads will include Kale + Roasted Beet with baby spinach, crunchy pepitas and bacon crumbles, Fuji apples and creamy goat cheese and Thai Fresh Salad with red grapes, heirloom tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro and shaved red onion. Globally inspired Harvest Bowls will feature a Roasted Pesto Vegetable Bowl with roasted seasonal vegetables, fresh basil, cherub tomatoes, parmesan cheese and creamy pesto dressing; and Cubano Black Beans & Ancient Grains with crispy plantains and queso fresco. Sandwiches will range from the Farm Fresh No Mayo Chicken Salad with fresh greens, avocado, red onions and crispy pecans to the American Harvest Burger with harvest grind hormone-free beef, pickles, Fontina cheese, fancy sauce and caramelized onions. Taking center stage will be the Rotisserie Chicken Skillet, served with chimichurri vinaigrette, sweet roasted potato, mushrooms, bacon and scallions. Additional Plates: Seared Tuna Quinoa Curry Bowl with roasted eggplant, shiitake mushrooms, lemongrass, cauliflower, edamame and fresh basil; Grilled Steak Tacos with GMO-free blue corn tortillas, caramelized shallots, yuzu chimichurri, radishes, avocado and cilantro. Eating clean never tasted so good. Further menu and design details forthcoming.
“We want to bring dishes developed by fine dining Chefs into a fast casual setting,” says Ignacio Garcia-Menocal, Grove Bay Hospitality Group co-founder and chief executive officer. “Our goal for Brickell is to offer non-pretentious, delicious, made-from-scratch, clean comfort food that everyone can relate to.”
“American Harvest is about delicious, passionately-crafted food that is great for body and soul and easy on the wallet,” adds Francesco Balli, Grove Bay Hospitality Group co-founder and chief executive officer.
Aesthetically, the 1,666 square-foot concept will sport a modern farmhouse feel with counters of white latticed wood, solid butcher block countertops, chairs accented with tin and wood and floral porcelain mosaic tiles. America Harvest will seat over 60 guests with indoor and outdoor seating in Brickell’s new retail and culinary hub.