February 4, 2015
Though Wynwood’s drinking and dining scene is rapidly expanding, the neighborhood has a surprising lack of places to get a thoughtfully made cocktail. Ben Potts wants to do something about that.Potts will partner with chef Brian Nasajon to bring Beaker & Gray to the neighborhood this summer. The 110-seat restaurant will have windows that open to the outside and a casual vibe that invites people to come for a drink and stay for dinner. Added incentive to hang out: free Wi-Fi and plenty of electrical outlets.
Of course, there’s also plenty of emphasis on the food, drink, and service.
Nasajon, the former executive chef at Sushi Samba in Coral Gables, and whose resumé includes Sushi Samba in Miami Beach, Wish, and Lure in New York City, is well-versed in global cuisine and will create a menu of small, shared plates that are attractively priced.
Potts, a bartender at Blackbird Ordinary and the Broken Shaker, is Beaker & Gray’s public face. “I’m envisioning a cocktail program that’s easy to understand. The drinks will be contemporary-styled riffs on classics, with the menu broken down into shaken cocktails, stirred cocktails, and aperitifs. We’ll also have a pretty extensive spirits selection with 300 to 400 spirits. We’re building a pretty big back bar.”
Potts says the time is right for Wynwood to have a good restaurant that serves craft cocktails. “The Beach is mature, but it’s hard to get a good cocktail on the mainland, and that’s what we want to be — a destination for people to get really good food and great drinks.
“We love being part of the growth of this neighborhood. We’re just a few blocks from the center of Wynwood and a few blocks from midtown. We want to connect with clientele from both neighborhoods.”
Although the menus haven’t been set, expect reasonably priced dishes and cocktails in the $10 to $12 range, with lower-proof cocktails and aperitifs priced around $8.
The restaurant will also concentrate on service. Potts explains that he and Nasajon are looking to hire career hospitality people who are in it for the long haul. “We want to invest in our staff and have them grow along with us. We hope that will create the best possible guest experience.”
Beaker & Gray will be open nightly for dinner, with a late-night menu until 2 to 3 a.m. Lunch and weekend brunch will follow.