Business

Alter and Other Miami Restaurants Turn into Grocery Stores During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Brad Kilgore
Brad Kilgore Photo by Stian Roenning
click to enlarge Brad Kilgore - PHOTO BY STIAN ROENNING
Brad Kilgore
Photo by Stian Roenning
When Brad Kilgore opened his Wynwood restaurant Alter five years ago, he envisioned a place where he could create innovative tasting menus.

Now, as Miami struggles through the coronavirus pandemic, Kilgore has reopened his restaurant as AlterQ, a takeout-and-delivery-only barbecue spot and supply store. The menu, posted on the Alter website, lists everything from an AlterQ "MkRib" sandwich ($19) to a box of latex gloves ($20). 

Kilgore says the idea behind AlterQ was to help his customers secure items they told him were scarce in local supermarkets. "I asked people through crowdsourcing what they couldn't find in the stores," he explains. And he found he could procure many high-demand supplies via restaurant-supply channels even though the grocery-distribution network was tapped out.

Kilgore, who also hosts an Instagram cooking show with his wife Soraya and is partnering with Miami restaurateurs on the Miami Restaurant Employee Relief Fund to help laid-off hospitality workers, says this is the least he can do. "We're a hospitality company and we're here to provide and take care of our friends in the community," he says.


Besides latex gloves, customers can purchase staples like dried pasta ($5 for two cups), salt ($4 for two cups), flour ($3 for two cups), eggs ($5 for one dozen), large black trash bags ($3 for one box), and sliced white bread ($7 for a loaf).

Kilgore says he's aware of the inherent irony of selling white bread out of a restaurant known for its upscale cuisine. "I kinda giggled when I started selling trash bags and rubber gloves, but you know what? The first batch of white bread has already sold out. These are items that people want and need and I can provide them. It's a whole new world."

Kilgore and company offer some of the finer things in life, too — like foie gras ($12 for 2 ounces), truffle butter ($12 for 4 ounces), and wines by the bottle. You can pick up organic chicken breasts ($8 for 8 ounces) or a 34-ounce dry-aged porterhouse steak ($60) from the in-house butcher, and choose from a selection of take-home craft beers or cocktail kits that allow you to make your own margaritas and booze-spiked Arnold Palmers. 

At peak, the Kilgore Culinary Group employed about 100 people. AlterQ allows him to keep 15 staff members busy, a number he hopes will grow. He's not using any third-party delivery platforms, the better to compensate his team. The shop is open daily for curbside pickup and local delivery from noon to 9 p.m. To order, call 305-573-5996.

Kilgore's not the only restaurateur who's shifted gears. Below is a handful of other local food-industry folks currently offering pickup and/or delivery. (Pro tip: In this ever-changing environment, don't assume what was in play today will still be tomorrow... call ahead!)

Peter Vauthy of Red, the Steakhouse is selling his steaks and other meats for pickup. Each order comes with cooking tips so you can grill it up like a pro.

Steve Santana's Taquiza will deliver out of his North Beach location to anywhere in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Along with prepared options like a $60 "Taco Party" that serves four, Santana offers fixings for assembling meals at home, including blue-corn tortillas ($10 for 20), blue-corn masa ($20 for 10 pounds), and cooked taco fillings in bulk, including carnitas, al pastor, barbacoa, lengua, and hanger steak.

Sunshine Provisions, normally a wholesale purveyor to the industry, is offering its meats to the public. Delivery is free for orders of $200 and above.

Threefold Cafe stocks Miami Smokers bacon ($12 per pound), Lake Meadow eggs ($7 a dozen), and coffee. In addition, the café offers a daily selection of fruits and vegetables for juicing ($40), as well as a $40 "Survival Basket" containing six brioche rolls, one pound of butter, two dozen Florida eggs, a gallon of milk, and a loaf of Zak the Baker bread. Pick up at the Giralda Avenue location. (Delivery available for Coral Gables customers.)
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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