Fried chicken and biscuits helped make Jeff McInnis a success on South Beach, and now he’s trying to replicate the feat.
McInnis, the founding chef behind chicken biscuit hot spot Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, is opening a pop-up of his successful New York City Southern restaurant, Root & Bone, in Miami Beach’s Shelborne South Beach hotel. He hopes to open in early December in time for Art Basel, Dec. 7-10.
If things go well, he said, the Miami Root & Bone could become permanent and replace the couple’s Sarsaparilla Club in the same hotel, which will close after Thanksgiving dinner.
“We’ll do what we know how to do best: chicken and waffles and biscuits,” McInnis said.
The pop-up will be blocks from the couple’s new restaurant, Stiltsville Fish Bar, in South Beach’s Sunset Harbour neighborhood. Together, the two restaurants will allow the Bravo “Top Chef” contestant couple to focus on the casual Southern cuisine McInnis learned at the heel of his grandmother in Pensacola and cooking in the South.
Root & Bone’s pop-up will highlight the fried chicken that Eater called the best in Manhattan in 2014. That Southern inspiration showed up at Sarsaparilla Club, where they served a hybrid Southern tapas, earning a 2 1/2-star (Good) Miami Herald review in 2016.
“We love Root & Bone. It’s doing well in New York, and we thought it would do well here, too,” McInnis said.
It also means his fried chicken will go head-to-head against the one he helped develop at Yardbird, which helped gain him national attention as a James Beard Award finalist in 2013. Later that year, he split with 50 Eggs founder John Kunkel, who recently announced he sold a minority stake in Yardbird to take the brand national, hoping to open two restaurants a year in major cities.
“We loved Yardbird, and it was a great experience. In comparison this will be a smaller menu — let’s call it a smart menu,” he said.
The fried chicken game has another player on South Beach, too, as Overtown’s Jackson Soul Food opened a third location on South Beach at 1330 Ocean Drive last week.
Root & Bone Miami Pop-Up
1801 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, in the Shelborne South Beach hotel