Ralph Pagano, owner of Naked Taco, the South Beach Mexican restaurant with a party vibe and chef-driven food, is opening Naked Lunch at the University of Miami Life Science and Technology Park.
The restaurant, a combination deli and diner, will open some time in the end of January 2015 and will be open Monday to Friday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Naked Lunch will also offer free parking.
And yes, the chef is well aware of the novel of the same title by William S. Burroughs, although the name fits well into the "Naked" theme Pagano is going for. "When you think about Ralph Pagano, you think about getting naked."
While Naked Taco was Pagano's "love affair with all things Mexico", Naked Lunch will be about his "love for the diner and the deli." The restaurant will feature classic breakfast dishes like waffles and pancakes, served all day. In addition, there will be "killer sandwiches, salads, and a daily blue plate special.
Pagano says the idea stems from the dearth of establishments where you can get a good pastrami sandwich. "Really, if you think about the things that aren't in Miami anymore, it's a proper corned beef sandwich or Italian hero. I think we need more places where you can get a good lunch for under ten bucks."
Beef for the dozen or so burgers at the "burger bar" will be sourced from 100% grass-fed, hormone-free beef from farms in Ocala, and hot peppers will be made in house, but make no mistake. This is not exactly a health food restaurant. "I'm making comfort food like corned beef and fried mortadella with provolone."
Featured items include a pastrami and Genoa salami sandwich with thousand island dressing and pickles; Greek salads, and "killer fried chicken". Blue Plate specials change daily and include unlimited sides. For instance, Wednesday's lasagna includes unlimited garlic bread and Friday's London fish and chips comes with endless chips.
Naked Lunch will feature Gravity Brew Labs beers, including an amber, a creamy ale, and a banana, lychee, and pineapple pilsner on tap.
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Pagano, who recently sold his interest in his restaurant at Sole on the Ocean in Sunny Isles to concentrate on Naked Taco and Naked Lunch, says that this new concept is just a cool place to get a good meal. "It pays homage to the deli, while being a little cheffy. We're going to have fun with the dishes."