LoKal and Kush's Matt Kuscher to Open the Spillover Seafood and Cider Joint in April

If you're craving a burger and some beer in Coconut Grove or Wynwood, there's a good chance LoKal or Kush is your go-to. But what about seafood and cider? That's where Matt Kuscher, who's behind both LoKal and Kush, comes in with his newest restaurant, the Spillover, described as LoKal's seafood sibling.

"Ciders are an amazing drink that not only taste delicious and are great for hot Miami weather, but also pair perfectly with seafood," Kuscher says. "Just like all new things, ciders have a mainstream reputation for being similar to a sweet, sugary apple juice. I can't let people talk about ciders that way."

At his new Coconut Grove eatery, located at 2911 Grand Ave. behind the Mayfair hotel, Kuscher wants to educate Miami on sustainable seafood paired with ciders, sours, and meads, which the restaurateur believes are widely underrepresented in Miami's beverage world. 

"When you go to a Japanese restaurant, you order sake and it automatically feels right," he says. "We want to make it so that when you come to the Spillover, you order a cider or mead because you're at the Spillover and it will taste amazing."  

The Spillover will feature a cider and mead bar, the first of its kind in Coconut Grove. Kuscher describes  
the eatery's cider offerings as "crisp and funky palate-opening liquids for the gods." He warns that it might take three to five trials to adapt to its taste, but once it happens, you're good to go.

"I remember studying in Spain and eating at a seafood shack, and at the table next to me, I saw a Spaniard pouring a drink four feet from the glass," he says. "It was an amazing show. I had to try what it was, and they told me it was a cider. Expecting the sugar crap I had previously been told was cider, my palate rejected it. But as I kept drinking it, it warmed up on me, and then after three of them, I was ordering them everywhere I went."

Almost a year ago, he told New Times that opening the Spillover has been a long time coming, saying he always dreamed of a neighborhood joint where Miamians could get local seafood, like a grouper sandwich or a lobster BLT, along with various ciders and meads, in an affordable and casual environment. Though it's been nearly two decades since Kuscher studied abroad, the experience stuck with him. 

"I still order Spanish ciders every time I can and always have bottles at my house," he says. "Now that I'm fortunate enough to open places where people can socialize and have a good time, I'm ready to share my secret with Miami. I hope they enjoy it as much as I have over the last 20 years."

Ciders, sours, and meads aside, Kuscher wants the Spillover to also challenge the misconception that Miami has seafood restaurants on every corner. "You either have oyster bars, extremely high-end seafood places, or way too lowbrow seafood places," he says. "The Spillover isn’t your average seafood house."
The menu will feature more than 50 plates. He says 15 of them, including the pan con bistec, classic burger, and Key West conch salad, have "spilled over" from LoKal and Kush, but the rest are entirely new. Most of the plates' ingredients will be supplied through Trigger Seafood, bringing line-caught and spear-caught fish; poultry from Lake Meadow Naturals; and shellfish from the Keys and Bahamas. 

Among menu items, expect to see the "babagooey" burger, served on a challah bun and topped with Brie and caramelized apples; Old Bay pan-seared crabcake with homemade cocktail and stone crab mustard sauces; Spillover's rendition of pan con minuta, with crisp yellowtail snapper on a challah bun; fried Bahamian conch; lobster BLT croissant with Miami Smokers bacon and house spicy mayo; and a lobster Reuben that packs meat from an entire lobster between slices of crust-free rye bread and tops it with Gruyère cheese, homemade coleslaw, and LoKal sauce.

"One of the cool things we're doing is that every one of our lobster dishes has an entire live lobster that we're cooking in house."

As for dessert, swap Kush and LoKal's key lime pie for the Spillover's banana crème pie. It's made with vanilla beans, a walnut-and-graham-cracker crust, creamy cheesecake, strawberry sauce, and Kuscher’s Puerto Rican mom’s guava bread pudding recipe that he grew up loving. “I put guava on everything," he says. "That’s why there’s guava on the frita at Kush and LoKal and why we’re doing this.”

Kuscher recommends pairing any local seafood dish or the barbecued gator ribs with Viuda deAngelon Sidra 1947, and apple pie goes well with Moonlight Meadery's Kurt's. "The dryness of the cider and the sweetness of the ribs goes great," he says. "And our homemade cheesecake with strawberries pairing... holy crap it's good. It will make you cream your pants."

Though Kuscher hopes to see most diners pairing plates with ciders, beverage director Vanessa Guiracoche will offer a list of European beers and alternating flavors of Counter Culture kombucha on tap, as well as Eternity Roasters cold brew on nitro. “With LoKal around the corner and Kush already killing the local and craft American beer game, we wanted to focus on Europe since they go perfect with our menu and add to what we’re doing with the ciders," Kuscher says. 

If you're wondering what the name "Spillover" has to do with seafood or ciders, it doesn't. Kuscher planned to open the restaurant next door to LoKal, making it the "spillover from LoKal." The deal fell through, but his fondness for the name remained. "Now we look at it like it's a joke since there are no restaurants next door or close by to spill over," he says. "We're the No Spillover by LoKal."  

Though he wanted to open the restaurant last summer, unexpected construction obstacles delayed the launch. For now, Kuscher hopes to open officially in April.  

Hours of operation will be Sunday through Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, visit spillovermiami.com or call 305-456-5723.

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