Located in modified shipping containers, one with windows, Charcoal Garden Bar & Grill is in the colorful and happening Wynwood Yard. Sit in the air-conditioned dining room or open-air area covered with a canvas shade rolled back at night. There’s also a covered porch with a tiled floor, a small bar and a large organic garden in back that customers can explore.
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Order a board of cheese and charcuterie with a glass of prosecco. Cheeses include Snow Camp bloomy rind goat’s milk cheese from Goat Lady Dairy in North Carolina; Barely Buzzed cow’s milk cheese rubbed in espresso and lavender from the Beehive Cheese Company in Utah, and Point Reyes cows milk blue from California served with quince paste, dried apricots, Marcona almonds and baguette slices. There’s also saucisson sec from Miami Smokers, pork and duck liver pate with prunes, pistachios and cognac, slow-cooked duck rillette and duck and chicken liver mousse with cornichons. Or go with dill-cured salmon gravlax with rye toasts, pickled red onions and mustard dill sauce or watermelon with feta in a blend of mint, olive oil and salt.
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Get grilled vegetable casseroles; kosheri, a blend of jasmine rice, tiny le puy lentils, farro, toasted vermicelli bits and caramelized onions with cinnamon and cardamom; roasted sea scallops from Massachusetts, grilled Faroe Island salmon with sorrel; a burger made with Florida grass fed beef with bacon-onion jam on toasted brioche; and grilled heritage chicken raised in Ocala, free of antibiotics or hormones.
Save room for dessert
Don’t miss the signature bananas Josper in caramel sauce cooked on their special grill.
What makes it special
Creator Ken Lyon is a veteran of the Miami restaurant scene from Worcester, Mass., who came to South Florida 20 years ago. He smartly hired Nicole Votano as its culinary director. Over the last five years, Votano has helped to launch four restaurants in Miami, including Dirt, Fooqs, the Fontana Restaurant at The Biltmore Hotel and Crumb on Parchment in the Design District. Neither chef is daunted by the limited kitchen space and equipment. They cook over glowing embers of hardwood charcoal in the Josper grill-oven invented by two Spaniards 40 years ago. Lyon also runs a catering business, and his commissary kitchen is two minutes away where the pate, desserts and ice creams are made. What makes it unique is dining in repurposed shipping containers.
If you go
The Place: Charcoal Garden Bar & Grill
Address: 82 NW 29th Street, Wynwood Yard
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 5:30-midnight, Sunday brunch 11:30 a.m.- 3 p.m.
Prices: Cheeses and charcuterie $15-$30, appetizers $8-$18, from the grill $9-$28