Stone crab season ended last week, but it's never too early to start dreaming of its return. To mark the anticipated occasion, the Hess Select South Beach Seafood Event is already planning a big celebration. After hosting more than 6,000 people for last year's inaugural event, the organizers are gearing up to make a grander and more gourmet weekend than before.
Tired of tasting events masked as food festivals, event founder Tod Roy decided he wanted to create the type of festival he longed for. Instead of tiny samples of food designed for mass production, he aimed to provide guests with restaurant portions of high-quality cuisine cooked right on the beach. On October 25, the second-annual event will take place from 1 to 9 p.m. in Lummus Park.
Last year, participating restaurants included A Fish Called Avalon, Tarpon Bend, Red the Steakhouse, Joe's Stone Crab, City Hall, CJ's Crab Shack, Cibo Wine Bar, Poseidon Greek Restaurant & Outdoor Lounge, Smith & Wollensky, and Catch Miami. This year's restaurants will be announced shortly. Roy anticipates a grand total of 20 to 25 restos to participate. This year, each will have its own dining area on the beach, making for a true pop-up affair.
New festival highlights include an air-conditioned hospitality pavilion for Premier Access (read: VIP) guests, with cooking demos, lots of wines, booze, and, of course, seafood. Along with an interactive kids' zone and larger sports bar, there will be 15 TV screens because, after all, it'll be football season.
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Beginning October 22, satellite events will take place nightly, including a kickoff dinner at Joe's Stone Crab for $500 a pop, a seafood restaurant and wine crawl ($50), and a new Seafood and Sneakers ball where chefs will compete to serve the best take on iconic seafood dishes such as lobster rolls and surf 'n' turf ($150).
General admission for the main event costs $25, or you can opt for the more inclusive Seafood Lovers Pass for $50 or ultimate Premier All Access for $150. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit sobeseafoodfest.com.
Connect with Cassie Glenn on Twitter @cassieinmiami.