Not settling for one new restaurant to mark their return to South Florida, chefs Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth say they have signed a lease on a second Miami Beach space: the former Joe Allen then PB Steak at 1787 Purdy Ave.
The news comes about a month after Miami.com reported that the former Top Chef-contestant couple and New York restaurateurs will open Sarsaparilla Club at the Shelborne Wyndham Grand, 1801 Collins Ave. That restaurant, serving “American dim sum,” is looking toward a late-winter opening.
For the unnamed restaurant in Sunset Harbour, McInnis says the concept will be built around Florida seafood with neighborhood-friendly atmosphere and prices.
“Janine and I love seafood, and we feel like there is always room for more of it, especially in Miami,” says McInnis, in town with Booth this week. “I grew up in the Florida Panhandle, which my Dad likes to call the Redneck Riviera. And it’s very different from Miami. Every other corner, there is an awesome seafood restaurant where you can pull your boat up to. I think we could use more places like that in Miami: smartly priced and good for people in the neighborhood and for people visiting.”
McInnis says he hopes to get construction underway in a few months, including what he envisions as a rooftop deck for happy hour — “a wonderful late-afternoon sunset ritual” — and beyond.
“We’ve got big plans for the space and are going to take our time with it,” McInnis says. “Right now we’re focused on hiring a strong team for Sarsaparilla and getting that off the ground and dialed in before really diving in to the other. Janine and I think we have two amazing concepts on our hands, and we can’t wait to be cooking in Miami again.”
Evan S. Benn is Miami Herald food editor: @EvanBenn