For the chain-weary eaters of South Miami, Kendall, and beyond, pork belly, fried pickles, and black-and-blue burgers are finally on their way. A new slow-food, craft-beer-focused gastropub is about to open its pork-peddling doors down south.
Barley & Swine is the pet project of Jorge Ramos, his father (also Jorge), and family friend Alexis Undorfer. Ramos was a real estate developer who underwent a sea change to the culinary world a couple of years ago and never looked back. Barley & Swine is the realization of this love affair with quality eats.
The 60-seat eatery is scheduled to open at the end of the month in a custom space inside the Metropolis building in downtown Dadeland. Ramos and his team designed the spot to meet their specific needs, including an open kitchen where guests can sit and chat with the chefs.
"This is my new passion for the last two years. I fell in love with restaurants," Ramos says. "I love being in the kitchen. I'm self-trained, self-taught. I learned a lot from my father and my grandmother. This is all I'm doing, cooking in the kitchen."
Ramos's first restaurant venture was the now-closed Joint Bar & Grill, a massive sports bar in South Miami. Though he says he loves the restaurant biz, Ramos and his team wanted to move toward the type of foods they liked to cook and eat.
"It's a huge change in lifestyle, and I'm not gonna lie -- there were times at the Joint when it was really tough. I have a real big passion for the cooking. The best part was the people we met and became friends and family with," adds Ramos, who's officially the executive chef at the new spot.
As far as food, Barley & Swine will serve classic American comfort food with a Southern twist and local sourcing.
"It's like low-and-slow-braised food: beef cheeks, pork cheeks, pig ears, pig tails, small plates. We're also gonna have about 30 craft beers on draft," Ramos says. Boutique wines too.
The menu is still being finalized, but the draft includes items such as Southern fried sweetbreads with buttermilk dressing ($12), crisp pork belly with red chili applesauce and barley risotto ($9), and a hangover burger with fried egg, pork belly, cheddar cheese, "crazy chip crunch," and a pretzel roll ($14). Plus, there'll be a different mac 'n' cheese every day of the week, such as Gouda, figs, and candied walnuts or lobster and mascarpone. Desserts will include churros, peach crisp, and popcorn ice cream.
Nothing is priced more than $15, except a couple of large-plate items such as a coffee-crusted rib eye with bacon-onion marmalade, sweet potato purée, and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale sauce ($22). Ramos says making their prices competitive was a big consideration.
"We're keeping prices really low. There's really no amazing food in Kendall. There are fast-food joints, alehouses, the Cheesecake Factory, but nothing for foodies, so that's the kind of people we're going after," Ramos adds.
They'll be open for dinner in the beginning, but after a few months, they're planning to launch lunch and brunch service too. The team is also working on a pop-up craft sandwich shop concept.
Ramos and company are also planning various events, including a beer-pairing dinner on the last Thursday of each month, highlighting a particular brewery -- Cigar City, Lagunitas, etc. Cost will run $50 per person, attendees will get to sample five brews paired with specific eats, and the brewer will be on hand to talk about the beer. They're also doing a Tuesday-night suckling-pig roast for $20 per person, 50 percent off wine bottles on Wednesdays, and other promos.
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Sounds like east Kendall is in for some gluttonous good times.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahalexs.