Eating House, the restaurant Rapicavoli opened following his 2012 Chopped win, will make its official return at Giralda Plaza, where developers Marc Schwarzberg and Jose Ortega have since added several new restaurant concepts including Coyo Taco, Sweetgreens, La Sandwicherie, and the rooftop bar, Cebada.
Eating House made headlines earlier this year when Rapicavoli, 35, announced he would not be renewing his lease. The restaurant closed after its last day of service on July 18, leaving devotees questioning whether the end had truly arrived.
Eating House first opened as a small lunch café at the corner of Ponce de Leon Boulevard and Southwest Eighth Street. It was an immediate sensation for its unique dishes, which merged Rapicavoli's culinary prowess with pop-culture references, earning the chef three James Beard semifinalist finishes.
For the past decade, the restaurant was a permanent fixture on Miami's dining scene, beloved for its ever-changing menu featuring the chef's famous Cap’n Crunch pancakes or Hotlanta fried chicken and stoner-themed 420 Dinner eats like PB&J poutine or "cold" pizza.
Now, Rapicavoli says, he will open a refreshed and refined take of his hit hotspot in early 2022. The new space will be located in a space not far from Luca Osteria, the Italian-focused restaurant he opened in February 2021.
"At Giralda Plaza, the landlords really want to create this varied, cool mix of great restaurants," Rapicavoli tells New Times. "After we closed Eating House, everything just sort of fell into place. With Luca doing so well, we decided to team up and reopen as partners."
Rapicavoli says the Eating House reboot will allow him to create the restaurant he always envisioned.
"That first version was my baby — the restaurant I opened with $75,000, only beer and wine, and mismatched silverware," Rapivacoli says. "We named it Eating House because we didn't want people to associate the experience with a classic restaurant. Now I get to show everyone what I always wanted Eating House to be, and create the type of place I feel our guests truly deserve."
Construction is expected to begin soon. The new design will create an industrial aesthetic paired with elegant, chic furnishings.
"I was really inspired by these old, rusty support beams that run the entire length of the space," says Rapicavoli. "It's that rustic look that I want to inspire the restaurant."
In addition to a custom kitchen, the space will include a private dining room at its center, enclosed by wine-lined walls. And the addition of a full liquor bar will now allow Rapivacoli to express his creativity through a beverage program in the same spirit as the Italian-inspired one he created for Luca.
As for the menu, expect Eating House to offer a slightly more elevated focus, adds the chef, with specials that change weekly and dishes built around seasonal ingredients.
If you've missed Rapicavoli's addictive chicken and waffles or pasta carbonara topped with a warm, runny egg — don't worry. He promises these favorites, and a handful of others, will be featured on the dinner and brunch menus.