It's hard to believe that in just two days, OTC will celebrate its second anniversary. I remember stumbling into the Brickell eatery and devouring a plate of chicken 'n' waffles like it was yesterday.
The comfort-food-and-craft-beer spot started as an over-the-counter joint proffering short ribs, Brie grilled cheese, and foie gras mousse from a Tap 42 sous-chef. Now it's a full-service gourmet neighborhood joint serving 63-degree eggs and tuna poke by former Azul executive chef Jacob Anaya.
If there's something that hasn't changed, it's that OTC is still a place to get a good burger and cold craft beer you likely won't get elsewhere (Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, anyone?). Which is why owner Michael Sullivan is celebrating OTC's second birthday by offering $5 burgers all day and free growlers with your choice of craft beer, which include some special-release taps.
See also: Ten Best Chicken & Waffles in Miami
"We're super-fired up about it and hoping to see a lot of people we haven't seen in a while, Sullivan says.
OTC recently launched eight burgers (five beef, one chicken, one fish, and one veggie), six of which will be featured as part of Friday's $5 celebration. "Customers told us they loved those the most, and that's what were going with."
These include the OTC burger (tempura beef cheeks, fontina, curry-tomato jam, and Dijonnaise), the green chili 'n' bacon (poblano peppers, bacon, cheddar cheese, and cilantro mayo), the Truffle Monster (black truffle cheese and truffle mayo), the pork belly Hawaiian (fried pork belly, mushrooms, and fried egg), the classic burger (Gruyère, bacon, pickles, and special sauce), and the veggie burger (corn, zucchini, sweet potato, farro, and eggplant).
The casual affair will serve everything red-and-white-checked picnic style, maybe to make up for the profits they'll be missing out on. "Rather than trying to get a lot of people in here and make a lot of money, the day is a thank-you to the neighborhood and community for all the amazing support throughout the past two years. Beers and burgers are our backbone, so that's what we're promoting."
As a bonus, the first ten customers will get their very own growler, which can be filled with one of the celebratory brews. "The beer list for Friday is honestly the best beer list we've ever had at OTC." The stellar local lineup includes Cigar City's Oatmeal Raisin Cookie, Jose Marti, Dark Woods, and Jai Alai; Funky Buddha's Banana Split, No Crusts (peanut butter and jelly), Neapolitan, Floridian, and Sweet Potato Casserole; Wynwood Brewing Company's La Rubia and Arroz con Leche; Goose Island Matilda and IPA; and Lagunitas Couch Trippin Fusion. "Funky Buddha makes only five kegs of the Neapolitan, and I'll be the last one to tap it."
Some of these are probably beers OTC will never get again, such as WBC's Arroz con Leche, which Sullivan had once before and blew out in an hour.
The celebration will continue till supplies run out, because there will be a limited amount of beer tapped (and probably a limited number of patties). If you don't want buns, a limited menu with shareables includes Thai chicken wings, OTC mac 'n' cheese, tuna poke, fish 'n' chips, and a selection of fries (poutine, truffle, hand-cut, loaded, and sweet potato).
As far as OTC's continuing evolution in the growing and ever-changing Brickell area (RIP, Tobacco Road), Sullivan plans on staying. "It's very common for restaurants to come and go in Brickell, and two years is an important milestone. It's equally important for people to know we're not going anywhere and we want to be the comfort-food-and-craft-beer restaurant of the neighborhood."
To do that, he and Anaya have listened to their customers and brought back some staples -- more burgers, fries, and grilled cheese -- while other things have remained the same, such as bottomless mimosas during brunch, chicken 'n' waffles (although they went Korean), and a rotating craft beer list.
"We're still learning from our customers every day. We did a lot of experimenting in the first two years, figuring out who we are and who the neighborhood wants us to be, and I'm confident we figured that out."
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha