You’re going to need a pick and shovel for the gold rush in Wynwood at funky Mr. Wright’s Gold Digger Saloon.
Look for the old ghost town with a vintage horse rearing up out front. Enter beneath a cattle skull with gold horns. Or slip in by the bar, where bottles of moonshine are stacked next to a “bordello” with stained-glass windows and a stage. The open courtyard with seating is lit by electric street lamps, surrounded by antique furniture, with a secret prohibition-era liquor cabinet. It’s a tongue-in-cheek set that comes to life at dusk.
Mr. Wright is the imaginary mascot dreamed up by Cuban-American owner Jorge Moreno. (Although, a figure that could be Mr. Wright in a Model-T is on the roof.) Moreno — musician, restaurateur and Latin Grammy winner — was inspired when he learned there is a Miami in Gila County in central Arizona. It was a classic western mining boom-town that inspired the gold miner theme.
At Mr. Wright’s, customers walk into another world with an ever changing menu created by chef David Bozic.
Start With These Dishes
Get an order of four-bean hummus with tortilla chips made from chickpeas and red, white and black beans or try the mild tomato and black bean salsa with tri-color chips. There are also beer-battered, deep-fried onion rings and the Amazin’ chewy homemade corn bread with corn kernels warm out of the oven. Be sure to accompany your starters with a Sierra Nevada brew or Crispin original hard cider while listening to classic rock, alternative and trippy tunes.
Share These Dishes
Try smoked oysters over quail eggs with strips of pickled hot peppers and nopal cactus served with rattlesnake aioli — your read that right. Smoked and canned rattler is boned and pureed into the garlic and olive oil emulsion, adding a smoky flavor.
Vegan chili is made with red kidney and black beans, onions and carrots in a thick tomato sauce over brown rice or add ground beef for a little extra. Other specialties include spinach Shepherd’s Pie topped with mashed potatoes based on the chefs’ grandmothers’ recipe — but swapping ricotta for mashed tofu with cilantro and salsa. Some nights the filling is wrapped in pastry to form a gold coin money bag.
Four-cheese quiche is a mixture of egg with Swiss, cheddar, mozzarella, and Monterey jack in pastry crust. Meats get a spice rub and are smoked in-house over hickory or applewood and include pork shoulder, ribs and chicken thighs.
Accompany your meal with a mason jar cocktail of Gold Miner’s Daughter: organic gin, cinnamon-spiced purple corn nectar and bitter lemon. Or try the miracle “cure all” made with tequila, punch and lime juice. A Gold Digger is whiskey straight up and the Filthy martini is extra dirty with blue cheese stuffed olives.
Save Room For Dessert
Campfire s’mores with gooey marshmallow and melted chocolate between Graham crackers are wrapped in tin foil. A small cast iron skillet with baked apple slices is topped with granola and whipped cream.
Hidden Gems highlights out-of-the-way restaurants in Miami-Dade county. It is not intended to be an anonymous, critical review. For more Hidden Gems visit Miami.com. Linda Bladholm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Wright’s Gold Digger Saloon
Address: 111 NE 20th Street, Wynwwood
Contact: 786-493-7537, www.gold-digger-saloon.com
Hours: 5 p.m.-2 a.m. except Tuesday
Prices: Hummus or salsa with chips $7-$10, onion rings $9, vegan chili $10, quiche $12, smoked oysters $2 each, baked apples $5