Chef Allen to Bring Modern Look and Taste to the Cafe at Books & Books, Coral Gables

Chef Allen Susser has been transforming the foodscape of South Florida since opening his acclaimed restaurant New World Cuisine in 1986. Since then, he has made a splash in the world of culinary arts, publishing three books and winning several accolades.

Now, Allen will bring his experience, talents, and vision to the Café at Books & Books in Coral Gables. Ahead of the October grand opening, Allen spoke to Short Order about his new venture.

Allen aims to re-create what he already perceives to be a fine menu, promising to keep the classics that have won him a following over for years. At the same time, he looks to modernize the café's offerings by introducing more casual fare, smaller plates, and sharing items, as well as incorporating the atmosphere of a bookshop.

How Allen will be relating his menu to the cookbooks and "bringing the bookstore into the café" should be exciting to see. His involvement in the eatery will include designing the menu and running the day-to-day operations with his manager.

Teaming up with longtime friend and Books & Books founder Mitchell Kaplan, Allen hopes to raise the level of professionalism as well as increase the quality and taste of the café's food. There also will be aesthetic improvements to the space, which will be complete by October's opening.

Signature events, such as Wednesday specials inspired by the New York Times food section, cookbook authors contributing to the menu, and winetastings are just some of the Allen's ideas planned for the Café at Books & Books.

Coral Gables should be looking forward to the "comfort and social center" Allen has in store. "Love to see you there!" he says.

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