Top Chef alum and Italian heartthrob Fabio Viviani is closer than ever to opening Siena Tavern in Miami.
The restaurant, a partnership between Viviani and DineAmic Group of Chicago, are bringing the successful Siena Tavern to the former China Grill space on 5th and Washington.
Though Viviani hails from Italy, Siena Tavern channels influences from Italian, Mediterranean, and American culinary styles on its menu, which will, according to Viviani, be slightly altered for the tastes of Miamians when it opens sometime in the fall 2014.
We caught up with the chef while he was doing a demo for Bertolli Olive Oil, and he said that the restaurant, which was scheduled to open last summer, should now be ready in late September.
Viviani tells Short Order that the restaurant will serve lunch and dinner, with two distinct vibes for each seating. "Lunch will have a family vibe, while dinner will have a more sophisticated feel. It's a place where you can get a really great cocktail and a meal". The chef said that an average check will fall in line with South Beach prices -- about $20 to $30 per person, and that the restaurant will also have a patio area.
The menu will vary slightly from the Chicago menu, mostly because of differences in eating habits and climate. "I can't serve heavy food in Miami when it's 90 degrees out. And if I serve a piece of broiled fish to someone in Chicago, they'll stick a fork in my neck," quips the chef.
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What will be on the menu? Fresh crudo ("the Italians invented eating raw fish"), pastas made fresh daily (Viviani preaches about how easy it is to make pasta to anyone who will listen), and his famous meatball (it has its own Twitter account @sienameatball). Viviani also promises to use as many local ingredients as possible, sourced from farms no more than 100 miles from the restaurant.
Viviani also wants Siena Tavern to be more than the new kid on the block. He's putting plenty of cash into the restaurant, with nearly two months of "friends and family" dinners in the budget to ensure all kinks are worked out on opening day. Guess now's a good time to start making friends with the Siena meatball -- and Fabio.