Chef Bee's NaiYaRa to Open in October

NaiYaRa finally opens the end of next month at 1854 Bay Rd. in Miami Beach's Sunset Harbour neighborhood. 

One of 2015's most anticipated restaurants, the eatery by Piyarat Potha Arreeratn, known to most of Miami as Chef Bee, joins Pubbelly, Lucali, Icebox Cafe, La Moderna, and Barceloneta, making this the most exciting little neighborhood for food lovers.

Chef Bee came onto the Miami food scene in 2005 at Oishi Thai on Biscayne Boulevard but was hoisted into the spotlight during his tenure at Khong River House. The chef helped open the 50 Eggs restaurant in December 2012, then left about six months later, leading to a lawsuit filed against the chef. The lawsuit was settled. Bee managed to come out on top of the melee  and can be found most evenings at Oishi Thai, stepping out of the kitchen to greet guests and take selfies with them.

Bee first announced the opening of the restaurant back in December 2013, with a 2014 expected opening date, but restaurant build-out, combined with street construction that tore up the roads and sidewalks in front of the location, caused delays. A zen Bee simply says, "Opening a restaurant in Miami offers a unique set of challenges and opportunities. Between the road construction and other delays we're just really excited to finally get in the door and start cooking," when asked about the setbacks. 

The restaurant's name means "friendly, honest, and hardworking" in Thai. More than that, however, it's a tribute to his daughter, Naiya. The doting father calls the girl a miracle and a blessing. "We had been trying to conceive for a few years without any luck, and now that she's been here, Naiya is my inspiration, motivation and the main reason for me getting up in the morning."

NaiYaRa will differ from the more traditional Oishi Thai, as befits a SoBe restaurant. Bee explains, NaiYaRa's location, menu and design is more adventurous. We're tapping into the vitality of the neighborhood and hoping to capture and reflect it." Miami-based design firm Oberhausen used Bankok's street food scene combined with visions of Old Siam to create a space which features an open dining room with red leather banquettes and tables made from reclaimed Indonesian teak. Traditional fishing baskets, soda crates, and vintage Thai movie posters are used as decorative accents. 

In addition to the dining room and sushi bar, NaiYaRa will house a separate bar, fashioned from liquor boxes and topped with zinc. The mood will recreate Thailand's back street bars and will feature signature cocktails including the Mekhong OX and Tom Kha, made with traditional Thai ingredients like bird chili, lemongrass, and galangal. NaiYaRa will also have a well-planned sake menu featuring exclusive bottles and blends, and a large selection of whiskeys.

Dishes are influenced by what the chef ate as a child, and include Ob Aroi, a hot pot of wild-caught Vietnamese Swai fish, steamed glass noodles, fresh ginger, scallions, baby corn, celery, snow peas, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, zucchini, and sesame oil; and Ab Zaab, a dumpling filled with minced chicken, bamboo, scallion, and white onion that's a popular Thai street food item. Sharing kitchen duties is the chef's mother, Bupha Arreeratn, who has worked at the family-run Oishi Thai. ā€œIā€™m excited and honored to work with my mother on NaiYaRa to bring some of my favorite childhood dishes from Thailand to the Sunset Harbour neighborhood,ā€ says Chef Bee. This will also allow Bee to divide his time between the two restaurants. 

NaiYaRa will be open daily for lunch from noon to 4 p.m., happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m., and dinner from 6 to 10 p.m. A late-night menu will be available from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss