Hardy Hill is a man of many vests. They hide beneath his tailored suits, both lustrous and gray. He has a strong chin and coiffed George Clooney-colored hair. He favors vintage Porsches, was once listed among Extra's Most Eligible Bachelors, and rose to momentary fame after appearing on the CBS reality-TV show Big Brother. On the series, his nickname was "Hard Body Hardy." But now Hardy Hill is the manager of the restaurant called Catch Miami, which debuted in January at the James Royal Palm hotel.
Hill is, in fact, the most powerful man on South Beach's dining scene right now. At Catch, he bends over the host stand, checks for reservations, and promises patrons that he will do his best to seat them in the dining room upstairs. But that area is exclusive -- even more than the rest of the hot, voguish 4,000-square-foot, 175-seat restaurant. There are rarely any tables available.
Catch Miami is the second outpost of the eponymous dining and nightlife spot located in Manhattan's Meatpacking District. Hung Huynh, the season-three winner of Bravo's Top Chef, is the executive chef at both locales. The restaurant is owned by the EMM Group, an entity that possesses not only a slew of nightclubs but also other New York restaurants and an invitation-only lifestyle, luxury-management firm named Four Hundred.
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The dining room at Catch is studded with familiar faces. There are those you might recognize from television, such as Martha Stewart, and others you may know from movies, like Leonardo DiCaprio, Zoe Saldana, and Camilla Belle. Mostly, though, the posh SoBe restaurant swarms with people whose names you cannot recall. You know they are somebody -- but that's only because everyone else looks up from their sushi and cocktails as these people walk into the room.
Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyCodik.