Kevin Danilo says there's no true gastropub, or any real service-based restaurants, in the booming Brickell neighborhood. So the 26-year-old, who got his start washing dishes at age 13, teamed up with Jerry Flynn, a manager at Lantao at the Surfcomber hotel, and signed a lease for 5,300 square feet on the first floor of Brickell's Hampton Inns & Suites. There they plan to open Batch Gastropub in about a year.
A big focus, Danilo says, will be on service, which he found to be pretty poor after moving to Miami from New York in 2008.
"When we came down here, we were appalled," he says, "even on South Beach."
Batch will be designed as a "modern speakeasy," according to a press release. Renderings show brick walls, exposed copper ducts, and vintage-looking lighting. They'll use both indoor and outdoor space, which Danilo says "nobody [in Miami] takes advantage" of.
Batch will offer large-batch (get it?) specialty cocktails with house-made cordials, bitters, and sodas, though Danilo was vague about exactly what they'll offer and how they'll do it. He said it will be similar to the Broken Shaker, the popular craft-cocktail joint that's now permanently inside the Freehand Hotel.
"The Shaker is pretty good," he says, "but they're really not at some of the really high-end stuff where you're using all fresh in-house cordials."
Drinks will be sealed in barrels for "the ingredients to macerate and become a smooth cocktail." The idea is that having the ever-more-popular craft drinks readymade will make it easy to bring the model to Brickell, where 80,000 people now live and work.
"We're trying to create a really high-end cocktail program but mix them in a way where it's efficient," he says. Most restaurants "try to do a couple craft cocktails, but you can't teach [that to] a staff.
"We want to take human error out of it and put it in the hands of people who know it best," he adds.
There'll be a master mixologist to oversee the whole operation, but Danilo won't say who that person will be.
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The same for the chef, who will head a full-scale restaurant offering 'global cuisine' for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night until 5 a.m. At the moment, he says they're still looking for the right person while planning a kitchen with at least a brick oven and a raw bar. There might even be some game dishes, such as rabbit and venison, during Miami's cooler months.
Danilo says they'll also try to source as much local produce as possible, using Moreno Farms and local fishermen.
"The seafood in Miami is terrible -- it's all these national distributors," he argues. "There are no owner-operators like we're going to be."