There was a time when you drove by Ponce and 8th Street and were greeted by only dark store fronts and CLOSED signs.
Then came the pop-up phenomenon Eating House, injecting life into the once quiet-after-6 p.m. area.
Taking over Cafe Ponce in the evening hours, the restaurant was a delicious force to be reckoned with.
And then it was gone and all was dark once more…
but that was just the quiet before the storm.
In the couple of months after Eating House closed it’s pop-up doors to the public, the restaurant’s crew deconstructed the once-shared restaurant space and made it their own.
And now, riding on the tails of the biggest eating holiday of the season, Thanksgiving, the doors to Eating House are open once again.
And many 305ers are giving thanks.
And the new Eating House is just that: NEW.
Gone are any reminders that this place was once Cafe Ponce. This space is now fully Eating House and like the name suggests, it is a space for you to stuff your face comfortably.
The length of bar that occupied half the restaurant has been removed to make room for more tables. The decor is a mesh of dark wood and stone finishes. New art by Dzees decorates the walls, but the vibe is still laid back.
This is no longer a cramped pop-up. It is a polished version of your favorite living room. The walls are lined with keepsake items; an I Love Bacon cookbook, an box of Jordans, keepsakes from around the world. All of these are little mementos of the times and the travels that have influenced owners Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli and partner Alex Cassanova.
All of these items tell their story. All are meant to make you feel at home.
And that’s what Eating House has become to many Miami locals who swear by it’s menu; a place for you to plop down and try new things. A place to hang out with friends. A spot to enjoy ambiance and great music. It’s not pretentious. It’s not fancy. It’s just Eating House…and there is no better place to eat.
But what makes Eating House one of the best eateries in Miami?
It boils down to the crew of culinary wizards that create dish after dish of innovative eats.
When you come to Eating House, expect service and some one-on-one time with the staff.
Chef Rapicavoli is all about face time with his patrons. He takes time to chat them up about the dishes he is serving and now thanks to the remodel, gives them an up-close and personal smoke and fog show when creating and plating dishes with Nitrous Oxide.
His partner Cassanova loves to recommend dishes and drinks to patrons while making sure things go off without a hitch during the always packed dinner service.
And Chef Henry Hané holds down the kitchen with ease.
This team is what makes Eating House special and now that they have conquered the dinner crowd, they are looking forward to introducing the area to their take on lunchtime brown-bag fare with a twist.
“We will be serving lunch soon. We are shooting for New Year’s Day,” Chef Rapicavoli said. “We are really excited to offer counter service at lunch. I think it’s going to be huge. We want to serve a brown-bag lunch special with really good sandwiches, homemade chips and fruit.”
The lunch specials will range from $10-$15 and will introduce the lunchtime crowd to the kind of eats that the dinner crowd has come to love.
“The place may have changed, but the feeling of Eating House remains the same,” said Chef Rapicavoli.
A sentiment echoed by Cassanova.
“This whole process has been exciting and humbling,” he said. “Remodeling was not easy because we did a lot of the work ourselves. But that is very indicative of us. We are not afraid to work hard. We are not afraid to be cutting edge. Ultimately, this place grows with our fans’ love.”
And he says part of that love is going to come from the lunch crowd.
“Coral Gables is probably the lunch capital of Miami. Now that we are going to be open for lunch, it is going to be very exciting. I can’t wait. We see ourselves expanding and this is the next step in that process.”
But until January of 2013, fans of Eating House’s fare can still enjoy dinner service Tuesday-Saturday and their famous Sunday Brunch.
Some of the menu staples, however, have gotten a makeover.
And that is a good thing.
“Before, when we were a pop-up, we were limited in what we could do with the menu because we had a very limited prep time,” said Chef Hané. “Now we have more time and can be more creative. We haven’t changed any of the dishes, they’re just presented in a new way.”
Some of the items that have gotten a makeover are the renowned Brussels Sprouts and The Breakfast, a dessert made with different breakfast cereals.
And by makeover, I mean they have been taken to the next level.
But I don’t like to make false claims, so in the vein of true journalism I had to go and try the improved munchies myself. And I did.
And just so you know, while I might be biased, my stomach is not. So note that in the afterglow of my sexy meal there this weekend, my tummy had this to say:
The food at Eating House tonight was by far the most-amazing meal I’ve had…ever. In life. Of all time. It was better than weed. Good weed. I had an entire array of animals. Beef. Chicken. Duck. Pork. BRUSSEL SPROUTS! Which are not a meat, but should be. I swear to Papa Dios…I almost wept from the amazingness. Honestly, that was the best oral I’ve ever had. In my mouth. In my soul. Amen as fuck. The end.
(And I am chubby, so you know that review came from a real place.)
The bottom line is if you want to have the best meal you have ever had, head to the newly remodeled and here-to-stay Eating House.
Tell them we sent you.