Rusty Pelican: First Look at the Redesign

Miami landmark restaurant, the Rusty Pelican is shutting down July 5 to begin a $6 million renovation project. John Tallichet, CEO of the corporation that owns the Pelican as well as approximately 20 other restaurants across the U.S. is "excited to make some major changes," and the goal is to "broaden its appeal among a new generation of diners, while remaining an iconic part of Miami's culinary revolution." Good idea.

Although the view is incomparable, the restaurant has felt outdated for at least a decade. Out go the rickety raffia chairs (Jamaica, circa 1980?) and in come the modern low slung couches. A California firm is being imported for the re-design; a bit disappointing considering the pool of talent here in Miami. The dining room and bar area is going through a complete overhaul and the words "trendy new gathering spot," are being thrown around.

The rustic patio will be no more, it will be reincarnated as a

"fashionable" indoor and outdoor lounge. I must say that the idea of a

VIP room with bottle service is slightly offensive; come on, it's Virginia Key! So let's hope that they don't replace too much schtick

with chic, lest the Pelican lose the one thing still going for it -- laid

back charm.

Plans are to re-open for business in November, with a new menu that emphasizes "contemporary flavors" and a

revamped cocktail list. Waterfront dining in our sunny city could use an

upgrade; we're looking forward to seeing the rusty stripped out of the


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