Casa Florida, set to open in September at Roam, will offer food, cocktails, and coffee in several environments. The concept, still in the final planning stages, is the work of Eduardo Suarez and Gaston Gonzalez.
Once complete, Casa Florida will offer a chill spot where people can relax over a glass of wine and a good meal. A shipping container is being repurposed into a pool bar, and a 1965 GM bus is being turned into a café where guests can grab coffee or juice.
Suarez says Casa Florida will serve American food with a bit of Latin infusion and a focus on local and regional Florida ingredients and influences. "We want to represent the different areas of Florida, from Miami to St. Augustine." The menu, which is being created by chef Matias Romano, will offer grilled fish and meat, along with classic American items made with locally grown fruits and vegetables. The chef was sent on a mission to travel the world for inspiration for several months before landing in Miami to work at Casa Florida.
Suarez has several successful restaurants in the trendy Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg, including El Almacen, Rosarito Fish Shack, and Shelter Pizza.
Suarez is also a partner in the Playland Motel renovation in Rockaway Beach, New York, a refurbishment of a once-neglected motel into an artistic playground for young adults, a project reminiscent of Miami's transformation of the Vagabond Hotel and the Miami River Inn's metamorphosis into Roam Miami.
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In fact, Suarez initially intended to open a restaurant across the street from the Vagabond. When that deal didn't work, the realtor suggested a meeting with Avra Jain, the developer responsible for bringing both the Vagabond and the Miami River Inn back to life. "She was super, super nice. She's amazing. She sat with us and jumped into the car and took us around Miami. She showed us all the properties she has, and I showed her my ideas and she liked them. I fell in love with this location and project."
Suarez, who moved to Miami from New York, wants to bring a bit of Williamsburg's vibe to the Magic City. "In New York, there are so many restaurants where you can have a drink with a friend and just relax and hang out. We're trying to re-create that and have Casa Florida as an extension of your home." Suarez says Miami has a lot of upscale restaurants and nightclubs but needs more chill spots where you can grab a coffee or a glass of wine. "It's not about parties. It's about good food, good people, and good music."