The summer churns on and so does the rumor mill. Word is that Bourbon Steak star chef Michael Mina is branching out in the 305, opening a second spot at the Fontainebleau in the coming months. The location makes complete sense, considering that Bourbon Steak is housed in the Soffer-owned Turnberry Isle Resort, the Fbleau's sister property. But not so fast. Although "conversations" have been had, nothing is set in stone yet. The Fbleau has also been in talks with "other" chefs, but none who already operate restaurants in the parent company's other property. Odds on this one being true are high.
Thomas Keller is coming closer and closer to Miami, to the Mandarin Oriental, where we hear that contracts are already signed and sealed and the French Laundry chef is just finalizing his concept, one which may or may not take over both Azul and Cafe Sambal spaces. We're hearing that said concept may be a reasonable facsimile or a copy of Bouchon. Odds on this one are high-ish.
Former Maison d'Azur (first at the Angler's and then at the Astor) owner Stephen Fortier is said to be making a return to the Miami restaurant market, this time opening a French restaurant in the area some call the Bermuda Triangle of restaurants---23 and Collins and thereabouts--specifically in the old Eden space. Fortier, who previously had some issues with paying employees, rent and suppliers, is plotting his return after taking some time off of the scene. A Midtown/Design District brassrie was set to open years ago but never did. Says an insider, " I'm told he found an investor w/ deep pockets this time around who gave him "carte blanche" and it will be 'spectaculaire.'" Deep throat is skeptical, adding, "Hmm, Villa Azur called and wants its concept back! Baoli, Bagatelle, Villa Azur and now this." DT has a point. Odds are uncertain on this one.
Trader Joe's is not opening on Brickell. Positively, absolutely not, says a flustered and not exactly friendly publicist, who refuses to comment on rumors, she says, as she unequivocally commented on that one. As for TJ's opening anywhere in Miami, well, that's rumor, and they don't comment on those.
That's it for now. We'll keep you posted as the mill keeps churning.