Ralph Pagano's Naked Lunch Opens

Naked Lunch
, Ralph Pagano's new casual eatery, is now open.  

The restaurant, located inside the University of Miami Life Science & Technology Park at 1951 NW Seventh Ave., can best be described as a combination old-school deli and diner, with a bit of a pastrami obsession.

The restaurant, named partially after the William S. Burroughs book and partially to keep up the chef's "naked" theme (his other restaurant is South Beach's Naked Taco), came from Pagano's longing for a proper New York style sandwich at a good price. "I think we need more places where you can get a good lunch for under ten bucks." And there are many offerings in that price range. For instance, a BLT OMG!, falafel wrap, fried mozzarella gyro pita, or hot bird (fried chicken cutlet with hot peppers and garlic aioli) are all $9.95; all fresh garden salads are a cool eight bucks, and burgers start at $7.95. There's also plenty of free parking, which constitutes to more lunchtime savings.

Chef Pagano says that his Naked Lunch is a homage to two of New York's most treasured dining experiences - the Jewish deli and the Greek diner. "On the counter, we've got it all set up with pickles and Naked Taco hot sauces. There are burgers, and milkshakes, and pastrami, and crisp, cool Greek salads."

Speaking of Jewish deli, Pagano serves up proper sandwiches on New York rye bread for $13.95. The chef slow braises his own corned beef and roast beef and the turkey is Empire kosher. The chef is also offering National Deli pastrami which he calls, "the most authentic pastrami I know".

There's also all-day breakfast, perfect for a restaurant adjacent to medical center, where schedules are varied and shift workers can be craving their morning meal in the afternoon or evening.What's good? "I have a new found love for pastrami on the griddle with scrambled eggs and American cheese on toasted Cuban bread with garlic butter is a life changing experience.aptly named pastrami and eggs. it's perfectly simple and it's perfection."

Naked Lunch will also serve local beers, with an emphasis on Gravity Brew Labs' creations like their amber, creamy ale, and tropical pilsners on tap. In addition, there's wine, sangria, and rum punch. 

Of course, since this is Ralph Pagano's place, Naked Lunch will celebrate Happy Hour this Friday, April 24 with free wine and beer (and pastrami for all). Think of it as an introduction to the neighborhood. Happy hour starts at 2 p.m. because, as the affable chef says, "If you ain't drinking on Friday you've got the wrong job."

Naked Lunch is open Monday - Friday from 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.

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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