Chef Brad Kilgore can now add “chef-owner” to his business card: He is opening Alter restaurant next year in Miami’s Wynwood arts district.
Kilgore, 28, plans to serve progressive American cuisine from a 65-seat indoor-outdoor space at 223 NW 23rd St., around the corner from Panther Coffee, Freshii and Coyo Taco. The interior dining room will feature a four-seat chef’s counter facing the kitchen, and organic garden beds outside will provide herbs and produce.
Unlike Kilgore’s previous Miami fine-dining stints, most recently at J&G Grill at the St. Regis Bal Harbour (more on that in a moment*) and before that at Azul at the Mandarin Oriental Miami, he says he wants Alter’s atmosphere to be casual and its prices to be less than those at special-occasion restaurants. Look for apps in the $10-17 range and entrées maxing out at $30.
Kilgore’s partners in the project: Javier Ramirez, a food enthusiast who documents his culinary journeys on social media and at GourmandJ.com, and Leo Monterrey, a wine aficionado and longtime Ramirez pal.
Ramirez, 41, who is also an investor in J&G Grill pastry chef Antonio Bachour’s forthcoming Brickell bakery, says he calculated his entry into the restaurant business much like he does in his job as a financial risk manager.
“I did a lot of due diligence,” Ramirez says. “I asked myself, Who is the best chef in Miami with the highest potential for future growth who does not already own their own place? Bradley, of course, was at the very top of that list.”
Before Alter opens in the spring, Kilgore et al will host a series of pop-up dinners, beginning this month, at the new Miam Cafe (2750 NW Third Ave.), also in Wynwood.
The Alter pop-ups — four-course meals for $59 with optional wine pairings — start Nov. 20, with ticketed reservations going on sale at noon today at altermiami.com. Next month, for Art Basel, Kilgore is inviting guest chefs Diego Oka (La Mar), Giorgio Rapicavoli (Eating House) and others to participate in the pop-up series; tickets for those events ($79) also will be available starting today.
A sample pop-up menu: Beef tartare with snow crab and warm ghee vinaigrette, grouper cheeks with nori and dill and shoyu hollandaise, and cinnamon-smoked apple with miso sabayon and cider caramel.
* Saturday was Kilgore’s last day as chef de cuisine at J&G Grill. His departure comes on the heels of a four-star Miami Herald review, which came out days before a Miami.com report noted the restaurant was being shopped to different operators. The latest chatter points to a possible Zuma concept opening in J&G’s space. Kilgore says he doesn’t know what’s in store for J&G but that he knew it was time for him to move on.
“This is the kind of concept I’ve wanted to do my whole career,” Kilgore says of Alter.