A chic tropical oasis in the lobby of a downtown Miami apartment building, Jaguar Sun was once a spot known for late-night pasta and funky cocktails. These days it's one among scores of restaurants that had to find a way to pivot their business model in order to survive.
In March, Jaguar Sun quickly made its menu available for takeout via a system that involved emailing the restaurant early in the day and placing orders to be picked up after 5 p.m. But even after enabling online orders, selling to-go cocktails and pasta was an unsustainable business model for what had been a bustling restaurant and bar.
Owners Will Thompson and Carey Hynes took a few weeks to regroup before popping up on weekends at Little River’s event space Lot 6, where they began serving cocktails and tacos (made with Taquiza’s infamous masa) under the stars. Word soon spread about the new spot where diners could hang out at socially distanced picnic tables and enjoy good vibes, an affordable meal, and the familiar faces of a friendly staff. The taco pop-up featured a few collaborations with local restaurants like Itamae and Hometown BBQ, producing menus that sold out early every evening.
Now Jaguar Sun is once again executing a concept flip: Welcome to Sonny’s Someday Steakhouse.
"One of the things we've noticed is that going out seems to be much more of an occasion than it was before all this started, so we're doing something to try and match that special, once-a-week, date night feel that our guests seem to be looking for,” Thompson says of the idea behind the latest pivot.
The menu reads like that of a classic steakhouse with appetizers like shrimp cocktail ($14), wedge salad ($14), Wagyu beef tartare ($18), as well as familiar favorites like grilled leeks ($11) and Parker House rolls ($4).
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When it comes to entrées, Sonny’s will offer three cuts of steak: a hanger steak ($27), a 70-day aged New York strip ($55), and a Scotch-aged tomahawk rib eye ($125). Those who aren't in the mood for steak can choose among a half-chicken ($23), whole yellowtail snapper ($38), and a Duroc pork chop ($29). Meat dishes can be enhanced with sauces (all $3), including béarnaise, taleggio, potato butter, green peppercorn, salsa verde, and piquillo.
No Jaguar Sun pop-up would be complete without a cocktail menu. This one focuses on martinis and manhattans with multiple variations of each. Among the former: El Presidente ($13), made with Puerto Rican white rum, dry vermouth, grenadine, and curaçao; and the Obituary ($14), a New Orleans twist on the martini that features absinthe. Those looking to wet their whistle with a Manhattan can enjoy a classic ($12) with either bourbon or rye, a Perfect Pal ($13) with rye, vermouth, and Campari; or a Vieux Kellay ($16) with rye, Cognac, vermouth, Cynar, bitters, and a big ice cube. Or fight the summer heat with the Green Ghoul ($12), made with tequila, mezcal, poblano, cucumber, and lime in frozen form.
“Although we can't install red banquettes and turn the AC up too high or replace our servers and bartenders with 70-year-olds in starched white jackets, we are going to try and hit that same vibe,” Thompson promises.
Sonny's Someday Steakhouse. 7357 NW Miami Ct., Miami; 786-860-2422; jaguarsunmia.com. Friday through Sunday 5 to 11 p.m.