Tony Mantuano, chef/partner of Spiaggia, Chicago’s only 4-star restaurant and a Top Chef Masters season 2 contestant, has chosen South Beach as the site of his first permanent restaurant (not including his family run resto in Kenosha, Wisconsin). Bar Lorenzo, a “casual, elegant Italian restaurant,” is slated to open in late Spring at a forthcoming 69-room boutique hotel at 1776 Collins Ave. (formerly the Fairfax). Open daily for lunch, dinner, cocktails and late night bites, the restaurant will offer hand-made pastas, wood-fired pizzettes from Valoriani-designed Mugnaini oven from Tuscany, shareable bar plates, heartier entrees off the grill, house-made gelato and a walk-up espresso bar. The restaurant plans to use the rooftop to grow herbs for hand-crafted cocktails and tomatoes and basil for mozzarella dishes, pizzas and entrees. The Italian wine list will be curated by Mantuano’s wife Cathy, a wine expert and author, and will have a big champagne and sparkling wine selection.
We asked Mantuano what made him choose Miami for his first foray outside of Chitown and he said, “Miami is great. I think it’s gotten past the flash and glitz and now it’s a serious food city comparable to others around the country. Look at what Michael Schwartz, the team behind Yardbird and others have done over the past few years. Now is the time to be in Miami. We’re lucky that Bar Lorenzo is at such an incredible location, in an incredible building. I think the renovation of this classic building will turn out spectacular. The fact that we can bring over a wood-burning oven from Italy, build a great champagne and cocktail program, and build and utilize a rooftop garden, are just a few of the culinary reasons on why Miami.”
Though the restaurant isn’t opening until late Spring, Mantuano will be down in Miami on February 6 when he will mentor local culinary students in the S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef South Competition at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.
Source: Lesley Abravanel