The power of reputation
When it comes to dining, the latter have the luxury of sheer size, purposely built for the inclusion of at least one big-budget restaurant. In order to compete, the owners of the original Art Deco properties have to take advantage of their limited retail spaces. The reality is that it’s possible to catapult your food and beverage operations to superstar status without much alteration to your actual property.
It’s all about bringing in a brand name or well-known chef or restaurateur to reinvigorate your venue — on the basis of reputation alone more so than physical enhancements. Trailblazers of this approach include The Shore Club and The Delano, which brought in Nobu and Jeffrey Chodorow’s Blue Door, respectively.
But the best example of late must be The Royal at The Raleigh. Frankly, The Raleigh was losing steam on Collins Avenue. A stylish boutique hotel, it was always cool, but not cool enough to draw the crowds away from the alternatives. So the property teamed with John DeLucie, of The Waverly Inn fame, and essentially turned its patio into “The Royal” dining room — which has quickly become one of the hottest destinations in Miami.
When it comes to turning lobby lounges, patio decks and pool bars into branded operations with celebrity clout, the name of the game is finding the right fit for the right restaurateur, and, of course, the chef to deliver top-notch cuisine.
DeLucie found success on his own serving classic American dishes at Manhattan’s The Lion, and simply brought a similar menu to his new venture in Miami. Of course, his signature Tuna Tartare and Macaroni and Cheese tagged along for the trip – best savored with shaved white truffles, wherever you get to enjoy it.