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Café Americano Debuts First Miami Location on Ocean Drive

Softshell crab at Cafe Americano Ocean Drive.EXPAND
Softshell crab at Cafe Americano Ocean Drive.
Photo by Michael Pisarri
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Café Americano, an all-day diner based in Las Vegas, has opened its first Miami-area location inside the Hotel Victor on Ocean Drive in South Beach.

The concept was created by Miami-based V&E Restaurant Group, which owns more than 30 restaurants in Mexico, Las Vegas, and Miami; including la Cervecería de Barrio, Mercato Della Pescheria, Marabu, and Cortadito. The latter, open since December 15, is located right off Lincoln Road in a spot previously occupied by David's Café.

The Ocean Drive location is the third for the all-day restaurant and bar, which in Las Vegas is situated in the lobbies of Caesars Palace and Paris hotels. Classic American fare with a Latin twist is offered on the eatery's breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night menus, along with a cocktail list.

In a phone conversation, Matias Pesce, CEO of V&E Restaurant Group, tells New Times that the group made the decision to proceed with the all-day diner project despite the current city curfew after they realized they could still make the numbers work.

"We understand that this pandemic is temporary," says Pesce. "We opened our first location in Vegas in 2014, so we know how to develop and manage an all-day eatery. We also know Miami Beach's clientele very well and the new spot is the perfect match of location and concept. People appreciate the mix of convenience and good food and that, combined with the outdoor atmosphere is what everyone is looking for now."

Pesce notes that it is the breakfast menu that anchors the concept at all three locations, but the local menu doesn't forego the diverse blend of culinary influences that defines Miami.

"We combine comfort food with unique signature recipes so our menu is made up of seventy percent base offerings and thirty percent items inspired by demographic; in this case, a Latin twist and regional dishes," he explains.

Chef Matthew Fresinski's breakfast menu includes carrot cake French toast, made with carrot cake slices griddled in spiced French toast batter and topped with cream cheese frosting, toasted pecans, and maple candied carrots ($16).

Other items include a tropical ceviche of golden corvina and shrimp with coconut milk, passion fruit, mango, aji amarillo, crispy corn, and sweet potato ($17). That same ceviche can be found in the restaurant's seafood feast that also includes seared Florida lobster tail, whole fried Florida snapper, grilled Madagascar shrimp, clarified butter and Cajun remoulade ($145).

Bloody mary aficionados can build their own version or choose a house-made option such as the Bloody Marisco, mixed with jalapeño- and cilantro-infused silver tequila and house bloody mary mix, topped with shrimp ceviche and a chili salt rim ($13). A Moscow mule ($13), a lychee martini ($13), are among the other classics listed on the all-day beverage menu.

A fourth Café Americano location is set to debut later this month in the Redbury South Beach on Collins Avenue, and Pesce says the group plans to keep expanding nationwide. An offshoot of the concept, Café Americano Xpresso, is likewise in the works.

"Much has changed in the food and beverage industry and landlords are demanding smaller locations," says Pesce. "We're developing a quick-service option with a reduced menu and more casual service over a 150-foot area and plan on opening in Brickell later this year."

Café Americano Ocean Drive. 1144 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach; 786-730-3549; www.cafeamericano.com. Open Sunday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to midnight.

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