Popular comfort food spot Blue Collar is about to get a salty sister with the opening of Mignonette, a new oyster bar concept by Daniel Serfer and Ryan Roman. Roman, by the way, writes the blog miamirankings.com.
The restaurant, set to open in June, will be located at the old 18th Street Café location, behind the new Publix in Edgewater. As Danny Serfer pointed out in a telephone conversation, the area is steeped with history. "We're right next to the S&S Diner and across from the oldest cemetery in Miami. I mean, there are Tuttles and Burdines buried there."
The idea for Mignonette started where most ideas start -- sitting down with friends over a meal. The chef explains, "One night Ryan and I were just talking about oysters and that we should open an oyster bar. The River Oyster Bar is fantastic, but we were thinking about classic oyster bars. Once we settled on a space, we ramped up the menu to include more entrée dishes."
Serfer says his friendship with Roman grew into a partnership. "He helps push me. A lot of the dishes on the menu come from him having an idea. I've always had a tremendous amount of respect for Ryan. When I was in New York, I would see his blog and everything sounded so interesting in Miami. I didn't know it was one guy's opinion. I trust his palate. He's more adventurous than I am. I went to Naoe because of him."
The oyster bar concept led to homework -- much of it involving shucking and eating oysters. "We're constantly eating at raw bars both here and in other states. There have been a few instances when we have like eight dozen oysters. On New Year's Eve we had an oyster party. Sometimes on the weekends we'll get bags of oysters to practice shucking."
How, by the way, are their combined shucking skills? Serfer confides, "Well, Ryan will shuck one to every seven of mine. But that one is perfect. He has this technique where he talks to the oyster."
The restaurant's décor, according to the chef, will be a little more refined than Blue Collar's. "The design is old Florida meets New Orleans, with some marble and exposed brick elements." But, inherently, as Serfer puts it, "the restaurants share the same DNA", meaning an experience that's "unfussy, unpretentious, and chill."
Mignonette will also serve chowders, lobster rolls, crabs, clams, and a well-versed selection of seafood entrées. In addition, Serfer plans to offer a champagne and caviar happy hour, because "everyone should be able to try some really good caviar." In the end, it's all about creating a space where people want to go. "Oyster bars are so fun. They have a cool environment."
As for Blue Collar, Serfer says he's relying on his "amazing" team to help him juggle two restaurants. "I'm lucky and fortunate to have good people around me that make Blue Collar the way it is. I'll be right there quite a bit, but initially you've got to treat the new restaurant like a baby."