Oh boy, here we go again. In what’s reminiscent of South Beach’s halycon days and maybe the nascent days of the original incarnation of Grass Lounge in the Design District, Seasalt & Pepper has turned away potential customers because they aren’t dressed in the style to which the restaurant is accustomed.
Miamian Todd Goldenfarb and his girlfriend were going there just for drinks at 7:30 p.m. Friday until they were turned down at the door. “We had heard horror stories about Seasalt but we figured we would sit at the bar for the sunset, have a drink and some appetizers to test it out,” Goldenfarb told us. “I was dressed as you saw [see photo] and my girlfriend owns a boutique, so she looked great.” At the front, Goldenfarb recounts, was a guy dressed in black sporting an earpiece.
“I walked up and without even saying anything, he told me we couldn’t come in because there was a private party. I then said to him that that sounded very odd for a Friday night taking the WHOLE restaurant. He then backed down from that and told me if I wanted to come in I needed to change my outfit,” says an incredulous Goldenfarb, who, instead of changing his outfit, changed his plans.
“In my younger years I would have pushed the issue, but I had heard so many negative things about the place I figured it wasn’t worth the effort. We walked next door to Casablanca, were treated really great, and went home happy. I figured that people should know before they wasted their time and effort going there, the way they pick and choose who can go in at 7:30 p.m. I get that nightclubs operate like this, but not a restaurant that you can go by boat on the river!” he said.
We asked the restaurant to clarify what happened here and received the following statement from the restaurant’s director of marketing, Esther Lozano, who says, “We have a dress code. No muscle shirts, must have shoes, no bathing suits, unless you come in a yacht during the afternoon, but women must wear coverups and men, even a simple T-shirt is fine.We need to tighten up on this because people show up dress like they’re going to South Beach. We aren’t South Beach. In no way shape or form are we trying to offend anyone. We are simply just protecting the image and brand of Seasalt and Pepper. Sorry if he’s offended… If you want me to send him a note and invite him back, I will.”
Goldenfarb, who owns Sloane Square men’s barber shops, says he’ll pass. “I have a retail brand here in Miami. I tell my team that in today’s world we need to be thankful for every single customer that comes in and to treat them like gold. I will not go back despite their invitation and plan to stick to those places I know appreciate not only my business but every customer that walks through their doors!”