America’s best chef is opening a restaurant in Surfside

Chef Thomas Keller, who helped elevate fine dining in America, is opening a restaurant at the Surf Club in Surfside in 2018. (Deborah Jones)

Thomas Keller is ready to party on the beach.

Keller, regarded as the chef who elevated fine dining in America with the landmark restaurants French Laundry in northern California and Per Se in Manhattan, will oversee The Surf Club, one of two restaurants at the former private club in Surfside, which will include the new Surf Club Four Seasons Hotel. Keller’s restaurant will open in early 2018.

“What we’re hoping to bring to Miami is the kind of restaurant where people can go out and celebrate,” he said.

This won’t be another French Laundry, the three Michelin-star restaurant once named the world’s best. It won’t be what he calls personality-driven, where Keller steps into the kitchen nightly to impose his point of view as a chef.

Instead, it will be his first concept restaurant, drawing inspiration from the history of the The Surf Club as playground for the elite, the place where Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack threw wild parties, where Liz Taylor, Gary Cooper and Tennessee Williams escaped to the water, where Winston Churchill could be seen painting watercolors in a cabana.

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