Yardbird officially opens this week - we went pecking around the new restaurant (corner of 16th St. and Lenox Ave.) on Miami Beach and found that Chef Jeff McInnis' place truly lives up to Southern hospitality.
Yardbird founder John Kunkel (he of the popular and successful Lime Fresh Mexican Grill) gave us a quick tour of the 200-seat restaurant, that mixes refurbished pine wood, repurposed distressed wood from parts of the deep South and plenty of Chicago-style brick in a space that feels different from any on South Beach.
The bourbon and whiskey bar, complete with a working homemade distiller, is getting its final touches. The beers on tap are all craft beers from around the country, and the taps are topped by vintage kitchen utensils that McInnis and company purchased on eBay.
Plenty of chalkboard adorns the space that was once an old corner grocery store. So expect many drawings with sayings such as "There are only 2 kinds of people in this world - those who love fried chicken and communists" or "Don't trust a skinny pastry chef".
The attention to detail to bring out that Southern charm is evident here. The blue plate specials will be served on - you guessed it - blue plates. And as you wait for your table you can take a seat on the bar stools that are made from an old-fashioned tractor seat.
As we walked in and checked out the place, the staff was like busy bees in training mode. The open kitchen was full with chefs and sous chefs perfecting their dishes. Servers were serving seated servers with plates of food - ribs, chicken, salads, etc. And staying true to form with Southern hospitality, we were offered some bites:
Cast Iron Chicken (1/2 White Oak Pastures "freebird", pan roasted, sautéed artichoke, tomatoes and speckled butter beans, grilled lemon, big enough for two), some NutterButter ice cream (addicting), and some Woodford Reserve bourbon on ice. All we can say is delish!
Yardbird opens on Monday, Oct. 3 for dinner (4 p.m.) and then eventually will move lunch into the equation. About a month later they hope to start a Sunday brunch. A private tasting and opening party will be held Saturday, Oct. 1
Until then, here are some pictures of Yardbird we managed to take after dishing some of that Southern charm ourselves.
Check out the complete menu at their official website - runchickenrun.com