Coconut Grove's only Peruvian-inspired restaurant, 33 Kitchen, is making its next move. Owners and partners in life Leslie Ames Brachowicz and Sebastian Fernandez are leaving the Grove for Little Havana, where they plan to open another concept in early 2018.
The couple recently signed a lease for two spaces at the upcoming El Jardin project, located behind Union Beer and the incoming Velvet Creme Doughnuts. The Barlington Group, the team that revamped Ball & Chain, is behind El Jardin, envisioned as a gathering space featuring a courtyard and beer garden between 15th and 16th Avenue. Though the main entrance is on Seventh Street, visitors can also enter on Calle Ocho.
"Little Havana is an upcoming neighborhood with a lot of room for growth, and we want to help write the first chapter," Brachowicz and Fernandez say excitedly. "Calle Ocho's scenery is young and open to new concepts." They compared the transition happening in Little Havana to the development that has exploded in Wynwood.
Named for Brachowicz, the restaurant Leslie will encompass two concepts: One will revolve around a wood-burning pizza oven, and the other will be a more creative kitchen using local and seasonal ingredients. Each space measures 1,600 square feet and will meet at a terrace surrounded by a community garden. Guests sitting in the outdoor courtyard can order off both menus.
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New Times named 33 Kitchen "Best Peruvian Restaurant" in 2016, only six months after it opened. Ironically, the partners never intended the Coconut Grove eatery to be a Peruvian restaurant and admitted they found it a surprise. Chef Sebastian (also nicknamed Seabass by his wife) would still like to use Peruvian flavors at Leslie but intends for developing and changing mindsets to make something memorable. He says, "Expect fresh, simple food that's explosive in flavors." He plans to work with Ready to Grow Gardens, independent farmers in Homestead, and Harpke Family Farm in Dania Beach.
This new beginning also means 33 Kitchen in the Grove will shut its doors. The closure was sparked by a steep rent increase. Brachowicz says, "Even though we have been living in Coconut Grove for 15 years and love it, I think the Grove is too classic, which can be restrictive for an innovative chef like Sebastian." The restaurant will remain in business until further notice, but the two agreed they will need to concentrate solely on Leslie at some point.