Justin Smillie Brings Upland to Cypress Tavern for One Day

When restaurateur Stephen Starr and chef Justin Smillie bring New York City's Upland to South Beach (49 Collins Ave.) this fall, Miamians will be able to enjoy the chef's seasonal California cuisine.

The New York iteration of the restaurant was highly recommended in a two-star review by New York Times' Pete Wells, who called the pork chop a "sensation" — high praise. Smillie's resumé reads like a who's who of fine dining. He's worked at Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Mercer Kitchen, Danny Meyer's Gramercy Tavern, and Jonathan Waxman's Washington Park and Barbuto. The chef grew up in California, where he fell in love with the outdoors — camping, fly fishing, and foraging. Those early experiences, coupled with his time in some of the best kitchens, formed how he cooks today. 

The Miami Beach version of Upland is scheduled to open this fall and will feature California-inspired cuisine in a bistro-like setting. 

Diners eager for a first bite of Smillie's food can either hop a flight to New York City or join the chef at the Slow Fires dinner at Michael Schwartz's Cypress Tavern Tuesday, October 25, at 7 p.m.

Though the menu hasn't been finalized, one hint at the evening's theme is its name, the same as the chef's first cookbook, November 2015's Slow Fires: Mastering New Ways to Braise, Roast, and Grill. The book explores the techniques of braising, roasting, and grilling with the thought that one must first know the rules of the game in order to break them.  

The dinner, which begins at 7 p.m., costs $195 per person and includes passed canapés, a welcome cocktail, four plated courses with wine pairings, and a signed copy of Smillie's book. Taxes and gratuities are included in the ticket cost. Tickets are available on