Food News

Rapicavoli and Cocktail Cartel to Open Spanglish Cocktail Bar + Kitchen in Wynwood

The Spanglish cafecito old fashioned
The Spanglish cafecito old fashioned Courtesy of the Cocktail Cartel
click to enlarge The Spanglish cafecito old fashioned - COURTESY OF THE COCKTAIL CARTEL
The Spanglish cafecito old fashioned
Courtesy of the Cocktail Cartel
The Cocktail Cartel, an innovative group of beverage creators, is taking its game to Wynwood with the opening of Spanglish Cocktail Bar + Kitchen.

The mixologists (Oscar Ortega, Hector Acevedo, Eddie Fuentes, and Manuel Picon), best known for hosting Spanglish pop-ups around Miami, recently created the beverage program for Jose Mendin's new La Placita restaurant on Biscayne Boulevard. Now, they are taking the concept to a permanent home at the former Pride & Joy space in Wynwood.

The Cartel has also enlisted Eating House's Giorgio Rapicavoli for the culinary side of the project.

Ortega describes the Spanglish concept as a tribute to the area's blended society: "In Miami, about 52 percent of millennials identify as of Hispanic origin. The food and drink will reflect that."

Partner Hector Acevedo says the drinks will have interactive components. "Basically, it's all about the experience," he says. One example is the Cafecito Old Fashioned, made with aged rum, coffee reduction, tobacco bitters, and orange, served in a "cafetera," a coffeepot used to brew strong cafecitos. "You can't get more Cuban than that."

Acevedo says since people tend to Instagram their drinks, the presentations will be key. Think cocktails presented in cigar boxes or a cookie jar. But quality will not be sacrificed for looks. "It's style meets substance. The cool thing is that we can bring our own flavor to the process."

Giorgio Rapicavoli will be given full rein over the food menu, with the partners expecting a creative roster of rotating items. “The menu will be an eclectic mix of dishes inspired by American and Latin American cuisine —  basically what Miami as a city is,” said the chef.

In addition to Spanglish, the space will house Grails Sports Bar, which will offer food and drinks with an homage to sneaker culture. Says Ortega: "What do we really love? We love cocktails, we love food, we love beer, and we love sneakers." Air Jordans, LeBrons, and other iconic shoes will be displayed among TVs and other symbols of sports culture. Chef Rapicavoli will riff on classic bar food, and there will be a good selection of local beers and cocktails on tap.

A third, take-out-only restaurant is also in the works for the location.

Says Ortega of Spanglish and Grails, set to open this summer: "Comfort is key to both, but they're going to have separate cultures. They're our babies, so we're going to make sure they get love."

Spanglish Cocktail Bar + Kitchen and Grails Sports Bar. 2800 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Opening Summer 2019.
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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