Culinary Community, a Restaurant Discount Program to Benefit Camillus House, Launches October 2

Miamians who love a dining deal and are mourning the imminent end of Miami Spice 2016 have something to look forward to.

Culinary Community for Camillus House, a new restaurant discount program, will launch October 2. The program, which runs through November 23, features a host of restaurants that will offer affordable two-course lunches and dinners.

The deals, offered Sunday through Thursday, feature prix-fixe lunch for $15 and dinner for $25 (excluding tip), with 5 percent of the sales directly benefiting Camillus House to feed and house individuals and families in need.

Participating restaurants include a host of favorites: Barceloneta, the River Seafood & Oyster Bar, Timo, the Café at Books & Books, Soyka, Mina’s Mediterraneo, Brasserie Central, Swine Southern Table & Bar, Via Verdi, Izzy’s Fish & Oyster, Gusto Fino Italian Café, Los Ranchos Steakhouse (all four locations), and Mare Mio Restaurant.

Though not all of the menus are currently available, the ones that are have worthy selections. Soyka's menu includes a choice of beet salad or Brussels sprouts as a lunch starter, followed by either beef Bolognese or chicken schnitzel as an entrée. Dinner options include either chorizo meatballs or Brussels sprouts as an appetizer, followed by penne salmon or chicken schnitzel.

At the River Seafood & Oyster Bar, seafood lovers can indulge in either cobia sashimi or steamed mussels with coconut milk, lemongrass, chilies, and lime as a dinner appetizer, followed by squid ink tagliatelle with jumbo lump crab, roasted tomato, sea urchin butter, and grated bottarga or red snapper fillet with avocado-tomato salad, citrus splash, and plantain chips.

The program is the brainchild of Brustman Carrino Public Relations founder Susan Brustman, along with Camillus House marketing director Sam Gil. The culinary publicist says that after working with so many restaurants, she thought it was imperative to help people in Miami who don't have enough to eat. "I’m retired for several years, and felt I needed to do something where my experience in culinary PR could make a difference. Nothing tears at my gut more than the thought of people in my community who go hungry."

Brustman then contacted Camillus House, an organization that provides more than a half-million free meals to people in need annually, with the idea of a program that would be similar to Miami Spice. She then met with the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau — the organizer of Miami Spice — before launching the program, which provided promotional support. "That’s when we knew we had a project that could really work in this community. This is just our first year, and like Spice, which I helped promote from its inception, I believe it will take root and flourish."

Brustman then reached out to other culinary PR firms in Miami for help in gathering restaurants to participate and was met with a warm reception and assistance. "I was surprised that other PR firms, especially Carma PR and Rockaway PR, helped bring restaurants onboard, and I think to get 16 fabulous restaurant participants our first year out illustrates that there is a beautiful, loving culinary community here in South Florida."

Culinary Community for Camillus House
October 2 through November 23. For more information and to find a complete list of participating restaurants, including addresses, visit
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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