Richard Hales is opening Bird & Bone at the Confidante Miami Beach. Hales, who was set to open his take on Southern cuisine at the Wynwood Yard this past April, has now opted for a loftier vision of his Nashville hot chicken and lamb ribs. The Confidante is part of Hyatt's Unbound Collection — a chain of boutique hotels known for partnering with local, individual concepts.
The chef will take over the space in the lobby of the Mid-Beach hotel where Michelle Bernstein and her restaurant Seagrape once called home. Hales, best known for his midtown Miami concepts Sakaya Kitchen and Blackbrick, will also take charge of the property's beverage program, the 1930s House bar, room service, catering, and banquet, pool, and beach service.
Hales says he's been in talks with property management for a while. "We've been discussing with them for two or three months. They're fans of Blackbrick and Sakaya, and they were speaking to me about potentially putting a concept in. They said, 'You had a pop-up Bird & Bone and were interested in doing a pop-up like the Salty Donut did.'" Hales sent them information about his concept, and negotiations began.
With plans to do a total renovation and takeover of the Seagrape dining room and outdoor space by early 2017, Hales is looking at two phases of the project. Phase one will have the restaurant serving food by this November, and phase two will include a total renovation of the indoor and outdoor space by the first quarter of 2017. Bird & Bone will also offer an in-house farmers' market and grab-and-go section.
Hales says that although this project is his biggest undertaking so far, he's been working on all facets of this endeavor for years. "I have Sakaya, which is fast-casual, and I have a full-service restaurant. I also have an events company and a mobile food operation. I do have experience. We're ready for this, and we're already in there working with the team. It's exciting. We're going to create something really great."
Hales, who takes culinary inspiration from his travels, will offer his own takes on true American cuisine. "What I've been telling everyone is that this is not my grandmother's story. This is my interpretation of traveling and eating things and bringing the experiences back to Miami. When I went to [Sean Brock's] Husk, for example, I understood why it's looked at the way it is. It's really American food, and it's done in such a way that it's inspiring."
Bird & Bone's menu will offer items such as slow-roasted lamb ribs with white barbecue sauce, charred cauliflower, and cayenne pepper; deviled ham; and Nashville hot chicken, which will be one of Hales' signature dishes. In addition, the market will offer aged country hams, sliced onsite. Vegans won't be disappointed — the chef promises many veggie options to sate any palate.
Prices aren't set, but Hales says dinner, "without getting extravagant," will run about $45 to $50 per person. "The price points will be appropriate for the room rates at the hotel."
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Hales will also take over the 1930s House bar, which will be renamed Nina's Guest House. It will offer cocktails made with pressed juices and high-end artisanal spirits. In addition, the bar will serve tacos from Hales' Centro Taco menu. Tacos will be made with Taquiza tortillas and will include Florida gator, Baja fish, and fried chicken versions.
Hales is also looking forward to sharing the property with chef Dale Talde. "We're brothers. We're both Filipino. He's a great guy. I've known Dale for a while, and we're both excited to work under the same roof. I think we're going to be great complements to each other's style. I think between him and myself, this is going to become a go-to place."
One can only imagine the innovative collaborative Talde/Hales dinners in Miami Beach's future.
If you want to work at Bird & Bone, Hales is hiring all FOH and BOH positions. You can apply in person at the the Confidante (4041 Collins Ave., Miami Beach) Wednesday, October 26, from 3 to 5 p.m. and Thursday, October 26, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or online at hyatt.com/jobs.