The Local's Phil Bryant Launches Boozin' Brunch Series

There are two kinds of brunch: That nice flowery one that features plenty of baked goods, flowers, and some mimosas, and the kick-ass kind that includes spirits pairings or features a local craft brewery. Let's just say that the Local Craft Food & Drink's new Roast & Toast Boozin' Brunch Series is probably not the one you'd invite your Aunt Fanny's crochet circle to.

The monthly series kicks off this Sunday, January 11, at noon. Each month, chef Phil Bryant will showcase a four-course brunch that partners with a new guest -- be it distillery, brewery, farm, or winery. The brunch is priced at $60 per person, excluding tax and gratuity.

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The inaugural brunch invites High West Distillery to feature some of their ryes and bourbons. That means craft cocktail pairings with each course. This weeks menu includes a first course of sugarcane marinated duck breast over Waldorf salad; a grilled terrine of foie gras for the second course; slow smoked prime rib for the third course; and a cream cheese flan for dessert.

Bryant, former executive chef at Swine Southern Table & Bar, chef de cuisine at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, and the consulting chef at the short-lived Prost, has been with the Local since September. Coincidentally, the chef actually helped the Local in its beginning stages. "What's funny is that I was here in the beginning as well -- helping out when the restaurant first opened, before I opened Yardbird -- so things have really come full circle."

Since September, he's made minor changes to the menu and focused on improving overall operations. "We've tried to really streamline the cuisine to be true to the American Gastropub concept.

"I'm from Virginia, so our food is mainly based around Southern cooking, with local ingredients and some Miami influence, as well. The menu is also geared around small plates, so that guests have the opportunity to pair different dishes with great beers and craft cocktails for a variety of combinations. We try to work with as many artisanal and local producers as possible, and we have an open-door policy where farmers or even regulars are welcome to approach us with product that often translates to menu items. We change the menu almost daily with a core number of dishes changing less often. This gives us the opportunity to explore the unique products being grown and created around us, as well as giving our regulars and other guests something new to try every time they come in."

Bryant says he and general manager Cameron Camacho have worked together to "enhance the experience without taking away the comfortable feel that the Local has always had."

Bryant says the new brunch's name is "a play on our use of la caja china for every brunch (roast) and the fact that every course is paired with an alcoholic beverage (toast)." The Local's director of operations, Veronica Valdivia, who is also Bryant's girlfriend, came up with the actual Roast & Toast Boozin' Brunch Series moniker. Bryant sings her praises, saying, "She has worked with me in the kitchen for years and is an invaluable piece of the equation here, on everything from cooking and expediting, to menu planning, communicating with guests and purveyors, and helping to execute our concept -- and all of our crazy ideas."

He also says brunch was an excuse to use the traditional pig roasting box every chance he could get. "We got our hands on the sexiest caja china we've ever seen from the Guerra family of La Caja China, and we love it."

In the coming months, Bryant hopes to pair up with his personal favorites in the South Florida food and beverage scene. "In the future we'd love to work with breweries such as Sixpoint, Harpoon, Funky Buddha, some chef friends, and some local Homestead farms."

In the end, Bryant wants everyone to just feel at home. "I really wanted guests to feel like they were coming to the Bryant residence for a home cooked meal, providing that same excitement you feel when someone invites you over for a meal -- not really knowing what will be served, but knowing you will be completely taken care of, even down to your drinks, without lifting a finger."

If you want to check out this new brunch series -- or know what it's like to dine at casa Bryant -- reservations are suggested and can be made by calling 305-648-5687.

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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