When Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez ordered restaurants to shut down indoor dining as COVID-19 cases surged earlier this summer, many were forced to find creative ways to make outdoor space or face suspending operations once again.
Without much room for outdoor dining at their Wynwood restaurant, Beaker & Gray partners Brian Nasajon and Ben Potts started to look for temporary work for their employees when an opportunity arose to take over the 5,000-square-foot rooftop at the Citadel food hall on NE Second Avenue at 83rd Street.
"We're excited to partner with a great venue to serve one of Miami's growing neighborhoods," says Potts, who oversees Beaker & Gray's bar program. "The space is beautiful and offers guests a very safe atmosphere to enjoy great cocktails and delicious cuisine."
Potts says he was speaking with the Citadel's general manager and asked if the space was available — and it was.
"They have this really dope rooftop," Potts says, describing the space as a "desert oasis" with landscaping, awnings for shade, and plenty of room to spread out and social-distance while taking in a panoramic view of Miami.
The takeover will showcase favorites from Beaker & Gray's cocktail program along with new drinks inspired by the rooftop location — including Miami Vice-themed frozen beverages like the Crockett Colada and the Rico Frosé. Bartenders from Beaker & Gray and its dormant sister establishment the Sylvester will sling drinks.
Food will be provided by the Citadel's resident restaurants, including Ash Pizza, and Richard Hales' Society Barbecue.
The takeover will last at least until the end of August, with an option to extend.
"We could be doing this for a month or we could be doing this until the end of the year," says Potts. "Beaker in Wynwood could be open in a month or it could open in 2021."
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Potts says that, while he's generally optimistic about the future of his own establishments, it's impossible to make any long-term plans right now.
"All I can do is try to come up with what I can do," Pott says.
For the time being, the Beaker & Gray Takeover at the Citadel will operate Wednesday through Sunday and feature themed evenings including Wind Down Wednesday, a Thursday locals night, and weekend brunch on Saturday and Sunday.
Beaker & Gray Takeover at the Citadel Rooftop. 8300 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-908-3849; thecitadelmiami.com. Wednesday through Friday 4 p.m. to close; Saturday and Sunday noon to close. Starts Saturday, August 8.