Matthew Kuscher believes burgers can be "clean" without being boring, and he has faith that Miamians will agree with him around Halloween, when his new restaurant, Lokal, opens at 3190 Commodore Plaza in Coconut Grove.
Kuscher has spent his entire career in the restaurant industry. After graduating from Florida International University with a hospitality degree, Kuscher worked at the American Airlines Arena under Levy Restaurants and then managed Hillstone (then Houston's) in New York, Chicago, and Coral Gables before going out on his own with Lokal.
If you didn't catch the name, Lokal refers to the restaurant's use of as much locally sourced product as possible. Kuscher will work with local produce farmers, and beef, pork, and chicken will come from heritage farms in Florida. Burgers, for example, will be made with Black Angus beef from Four Arrows Ranch in Citra, Florida.
Kuscher plans to serve 15 to 20 brands of bottled beers and about a half-dozen on draft -- all microbrews or craft beers (with the exception of maybe one anti-hipster selection like PBR or Bud).
Lokal's sign is up and drawing attention in Coconut Grove.
Le Cordon Bleu graduate Albert Collado will be the man behind the burner, charged with turning all of these clean proteins into delicious burgers, sandwiches, and salads. But don't think these creations won't be decadent.
A preliminary menu features burgers served with sriracha, jalapeños, and Monterrey Jack ("the Miami Heat"); Burgers on doughnuts ("the Crispy Kreme"); beef and champagne for high rollers ("the Burgers & Bubbles," a patty paired with a bottle of Dom Perignon); and a version of a frita, made with guava jelly.
Sandwiches are a family affair and include Kuscher's wife Priscilla's tuna sandwich and Florida shrimp tacos. Prices aren't set, but look
for burgers and sandwiches in the $8 to $15 range (the Dom Perignon pairing being significantly higher).
What's not local, "clean," or organic on the menu? Look out for Lokal's redneck dessert platter,
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consisting of three of your choice of fried Twinkies, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Nutty Bars, or Oreo cookies served with milk. Because sometimes even the cleanest people have to get dirty.
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