For a quarter of a century, Perricone's was a popular presence in Miami's Brickell area. But last year, owner Steven J. Perricone announced the restaurant and market would close its iconic space in Brickell and move to a new location in the Roads.
The new Perricone's opens today with a 2,600-square-foot market and a dining room of the same size that seats 150.
Though the space is new, Perricone says regulars will find the same rustic vibe, right down to the wood beams. "I tried to recapture that spirit. I brought all of the wood beams from the Tenth Street location with me," he says.
The restaurateur proceeds to relate how he purchased the Brickell space, only to watch as it physically fell apart during the remodel.
"I was almost in tears," he says. "My friend suggested we go barn hunting." The two flew to Vermont, where they purchased an old barn and had it disassembled and moved to Miami. The barn wood became an emblem of Perricone's style.
Perricone bought the new space, a 50-year-old building on Coral Way, because it gave him the same welcoming feeling as the Brickell barn did in 1996. "It has magnificent large windows and has a lot of light," he says. "Outside, there are these large, beautiful banyan trees."
Perricone says he's exceeding CDC guidelines for restaurant dining rooms. He'll require temperature checks for employees and guests alike. All servers will wear masks and gloves, and guests will be offered sanitizer wipes. Tables will be sanitized between seatings, and the entire restaurant will be cleaned twice daily. Perricone's will offer disposable menus, utensils, and glassware upon request, as well as QR-code menus. Says Perricone: "My job is to make everyone feel comfortable."
For those who prefer to dine at home, the market will offer a range of prepared items and artisan groceries, including custom dinners that can feed anywhere from one to six.
"In Brickell, there were more condo dwellers. We're hoping to cater to the families that are here in the Roads," Perricone says.
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For Perricone, who has been a presence on the Miami-Dade culinary scene since the 1980s, reopening — even in the midst of a pandemic — feels like coming home.
"I was hoping to open before the end of 2019, but things got backed up. Then the COVID pandemic hit and we were at a standstill," he says. "I'm finally ready to open.
"'Finally' being the operative word."
Perricone's Marketplace & Cafe. 1700 SW Third Ave., Miami; 305-374-9449; perricones.com. Market open daily 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Caé open Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 4 to 11 p.m.