Tongue & Cheek: What's Behind All Those Characters? DeRosa Speaks

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Tongue & Cheek is set to open in a few weeks, and if you're following the restaurant or chef/owner Jamie DeRosa on Twitter or Facebook, chances are you've encountered some interesting characters.

Part animal and part beast, these well-dressed hybrids have been popping up all over social media. We wanted to know more about these characters -- namely, will they be serving us, or will they be served when the restaurant by DeRosa and partner Michael Reginbogin opens?

Read also:
- Tongue & Cheek to Open in SoFi: We Chat With Chef/Partner Jamie DeRosa

New Times: Who is designing all of those characters you have on your Facebook page and your logos?
Jamie DeRosa: Deep Sleep Studio is our branding partner. Creative director Alex Martinez and his team at Deep Sleep complement our vision, creativity, and style perfectly. After being introduced by a mutual friend a few months ago, we instantly recognized their level of originality and inventiveness.

Can you tell us about them and what they represent? Do they have names and backgrounds?
The illustrations are a bit eccentric but really capture our sensibilities. They have an air of refinement too, which we thought was important. What we loved most about them is that they project personality and a sense of story without having a name or story attached to them. They become what the viewer sees in them.

Was this your vision?
The resulting vision was a collaboration between [Michael and myself] and Alex.

What other design elements will be incorporated into the restaurant?
In addition to being co-owner, Michael Reginbogin is also one of the designers. He capitalized on his previous residential design experience to create a space that seamlessly merges rustic qualities with a contemporary sensibility, all while keeping the space light, airy, and welcoming.

All artwork is original by local artist Claudio Picasso and was commissioned to not only add local flavor but also spark intrigue and commentary while complementing the color palette of the surrounding furnishings. He spent countless hours researching old archive photos of Miami to hang in the main dining room.

How does the design influence the food and vice versa?
The space is a reflection of the menu in the sense that it seamlessly combines technique and detail with a seemingly uncomplicated arena.

You've thought of everything, down to the uniforms. Who is doing them?
Our design team also consists of Alfredo Malatesta and his team at Flavour Gallery, who helped engineer the development of our uniforms, which will be worn by both our kitchen and service teams, with several different styles and branding illustrations to choose from.

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