Each year, tens of thousands of people flock to the tents of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival to eat, drink, and mingle with celebrity chefs.
The festival is also a good time to find out about new restaurants opening from both savvy restaurateurs who preview new concepts at parties and chefs who get slightly lubricated and dish on what's in their future.
This year was no exception as chefs named their new babies... and a new baby (monkey) was named after a chef.
A host of new concepts was announced during the festival by major culinary players including David Grutman, Jose Andres, Guy Fieri, Coyo Taco's Scott Linquist, Steve Santana, and more.
Beefsteak. During the Thursday evening Taste of Puerto Rico event, chef Jose Andres' Beefsteak food truck parked outside the SLS South Beach, serving lavender lemonade and beefsteak tomato sliders. The truck will stay in Miami for an indefinite time, traveling around FIU campuses with a menu of warm veggie bowls, salads, and tomato burgers. Most items are vegetarian and cost under $10. That means you can eat cuisine from one of the world's best chefs for a Hamilton! Follow @FIU_FoodLife on Instagram for updates on the truck.
Champion Burger. Coyo Taco partners Sven Vogtland, Alan Drummond, and Scott Linquist introduced their new concept, Champion Burger, at the SOBEWFF Burger Bash. According to chef/partner Linquist, Champion Burger is a classic burger concept with a simple menu that will revolve around its namesake: a custom-blend thin patty using quality ingredients and locally baked buns. A location has not been nailed down, but Linquist promises Champion Burger will offer "value with no frills and no B.S.."
Chicken Guy! Attendees at Saturday's Beachside BBQ got a taste of chicken tenders from the soon-to-open Chicken Guy!, which will premiere at Aventura Mall this spring at the Treats Food Hall. The fast-casual restaurant, a partnership between Fieri and restaurateur Robert Earl, serves chicken tenders with a choice of 22 signature sauces. Earl is the founder and chairman of Planet Hollywood. This will be the second Chicken Guy! location, the first having opened at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort last year. Aventura Mall, 19501 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura.
Esotico Tiki Bar. At Friday's Art of Tiki event, Graspa Group introduced its new tiki-inspired bar and restaurant, Esotico. Opening at Canvas in the coming months, the establishment will feature modern takes on traditional tiki cocktails along with food and music. This new concept comes from the restaurant group that owns Salumeria 104 and Segafredo.1630 NE First Ave., Miami; 305-800-TIKI; esoticomiami.com.
G.L.O.W. Grand Tasting Village attendees got to cool off with frozen yogurt by G.L.O.W. The yogurt shop, whose acronym stands for Girls Leading Our World, will offer organic, grass-fed dairy fro-yo, along with vegan and gluten-free selections. The best part: 100 percent of proceeds will benefit Global G.L.O.W., a nonprofit incubator and accelerator founded in 2012 that operates free after-school programs in 27 countries mentoring girls to advocate for themselves and strengthen their communities. The shop is set to open in Wynwood in the coming months. 97 NW 25th St., Miami; glowforgood.com.
Off Site. Steve Santana (Taquiza) and Adam Darnell (Boxelder) debuted their new nano-brewery concept, Off Site, at Sunday's Swine and Wine. The two became friends at Boxelder when Santana presented his fare at the Wynwood brewpub's Fried Chicken Fridays. Now, they're partners and have signed a lease in Little Haiti, just south of the Citadel (where Santana has an outpost of Taquiza). Off Site will offer craft beer and a menu featuring breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches. @Offsite.miami on Instagram.
Papi Steak. David Grutman's Groot Hospitality gave SOBEWFF goers a taste of things to come at his David Grutman Experience at the Grand Tasting Village with the sampling of the Papi Steak sandwich. Grutman and David "Papi" Einhorn will open Papi Steak in Miami Beach's SoFi neighborhood. The 93-seat restaurant is set to open this summer.@groothospitality on Instagram. Rocco the Monkey. There was cuteness overload as another type of "baby" was announced at the festival's Fun and Fit as a Family event at Jungle Island. A baby capuchin monkey was named for celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito after the park held a naming contest via social media. The monkey, born at the Miami park to parents Fabiana and Mowgli, was introduced to the public over the weekend. DiSpirito met his baby namesake and was pretty much enamored with the tiny primate, holding him throughout his culinary demonstration. Though this find's not edible, he's totally delish. 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami; 305-400-7000; jungleisland.com.
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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.