Janine Booth and Jeff McInnis are becoming a true Miami culinary power couple.
The chefs behind Stiltsville Fish Bar in Miami Beach and Root & Bone in South Miami and New York City are now planning another restaurant — right next door to their South Miami Southern-food paradise.
The restaurant will be part of Grove Bay Group's ever-growing roster of successful eateries. Restaurant owner/operators Ignacio Garcia-Menocal, Francesco Balli, and Eddie Acevedo have paired with Miami's best chefs to open successful spots like Stubborn Seed, Glass & Vine, Stiltsville Fish Bar, Root & Bone, and Shula's 347 Grill. Future projects include Jeremy Ford's A-Fish-o-na-do, Cut & Dry Steakhouse in Coconut Grove, and Marcus Samuelsson's Red Rooster Overtown.
Mi'talia Kitchen & Bar, which is slated for a September 2019 opening, will see Booth & McInnis put their spin on Italian cuisine. McInnis says Italian food is a bit of an obsession for the couple: "Janine and I love Italian food, as pretty much all humans do." He adds that he has cooked at plenty of restaurants that had Italian influences. He and Booth have also traveled through Italy, doing homework in the form of eating.
The restaurant's name, Mi'talia, is a play on words, says McInnis, who hails from Niceville, Florida. "Janine and I are happy to admit we're not Italian; we're OK admitting we are who we are. But we studied Italian foods — this is our version of Italian food."
The menu, which the chefs are currently finalizing, will offer a lighter take on Italian cuisine using locally sourced ingredients. "We're going to utilize the great purveyors around here," says McInnis. Offerings will include fresh pastas, a host of vegetarian dishes, and a lighter form of Neapolitan pizza, termed nuvola, turned out from a wood-burning stone oven. McInnis describes the pizza dough as lighter. "It's as if Neapolitan pizza and New York City pizza had a baby," he says.
Menu items will be in the same price range as Mi'talia's next-door neighbor, Root & Bone, according to the chef. "I haven't costed out dishes yet, but we're going to make sure portions are fair and smartly priced. It's going to be neighborhood dining, that's for sure."
Guests can expect dishes such as sunflower pizza with Sungold tomatoes, yellow squash, mint and pistachio pesto, ricotta, and sunflower seeds; a bowl of chili mussels with spicy salami, Calabrian chilies, white wine, and lemon served with crunchy sourdough bread; and chicken parmesan with burrata, San Marzano tomato sauce, and basil, served with heirloom tomato salad.
The dining room will have touches of Southern Italy in its decor. McInnis describes it as feeling "like you've been walking through an olive orchard all day," with about 90 seats indoors and a large patio shared with Root & Bone. The two restaurants will host live music during weekend brunch. McInnis says that even indoors, the restaurant will have the feel of dining alfresco. "We really got lucky with this building. The tall windows really make the dining room look amazing."
Laine Doss, Miami New Times
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