One of Miami-Dade’s newest restaurants is Tongue & Cheek. The gastropub opened in April in the South Beach spot that was the longtime home of Tuscan Steak, followed in recent years by steakhouse (Kane) and Mexican (El Scorpion) concepts that never caught on.
Carrino, who represents Tongue & Cheek, said he was heartened that the restaurant’s partners have tried to position it as a foodie destination as well as a neighborhood spot for people who live and work on the beach.
“The ongoing discussion was always how the concept and space needed to work together, not how the concept needed to succeed in spite of the location,” he said.
The restaurant’s mix of value and whimsical cooking — a nightly $10 happy hour meal, affordable valet, burgers made with beef cheeks, chicken-liver pate served in a sardine tin — is already resonating with the South of Fifth crowd, Carrino said.
Business has been “good, steady and growing,” he said, adding that the 150-seat restaurant has been averaging about 120 customers a night. The staff has been making adjustments to food and service as they get feedback from patrons. Listening to customers, Carrino said, may be the single most-important element in a restaurant breaking out from a “cursed” location.
“This is the hospitality industry, after all,” he said.
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