Updated: Chef Alex Guarnaschelli to run restaurant at new Nautilus South Beach hotel

Alex Guarnaschelli and the original Nautilus.
Alex Guarnaschelli and the original Nautilus.

Update II (10/18): The restaurant will open Friday, Oct. 23. 

Update (10/13): More details have trickled in about celeb chef Alex Guarnaschelli’s restaurants at the new Nautilus South Beach, 1825 Collins Ave. Her main restaurant will be Driftwood Room, serving dishes like cobia crudo, Florida shrimp with green-apple chimichurri, and whole roasted cauliflower with rock salt and lemon. Guarnaschelli also is overseeing the menu of the poolside Nautilus Cabana Club and the lobby bar, serving snacks like heirloom carrot fries and truffled popcorn. Master Sommelier Laura Maniec has orchestrated the wine lists.

Original post follows.


Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli has signed on to run the signature restaurant in the new Nautilus South Beach hotel, set to open next month at 1825 Collins Ave. in Miami Beach. 

The Chopped judge and Iron Chef victor, who is executive chef of Butter restaurant in midtown Manhattan, says she’s writing a menu for the Nautilus Cabana Club fit for a casual-chic beach resort.

“We want this restaurant to feel — quite simply — beachy and fun,” Guarnaschelli says. “Grilled fish, simple salads with a Mediterranean influence and made with the best ingredients Miami has to offer.”

Guarnaschelli, who trained with and worked alongside chefs Guy Savoy, Daniel Boulud, Larry Forgione and Joachim Splichal on her way up, will be assisted in Miami Beach by chef de cuisine Lucas Marino. He is a veteran of Guarnaschelli’s kitchen at The Darby supper club in New York, which closed in 2013. (Marino also competed on an episode of Chopped that year; Guarnaschelli recused herself from judging that one.)  

Nautilus Cabana Club will be operated and managed by China Grill Management. The original plan for the space, announced last year, was for China Grill Management to bring in chef Claude Troisgros to revive the Delano restaurant Blue Door, with French and Brazilian influences.  

Instead, the restaurant under Guarnaschelli’s direction will take on a decidedly beachy feel, with a blue marble bar being the centerpiece of an indoor dining room, and a saltwater pool, wood deck and lushly landscaped back yard the highlights of the outdoor space. 

“When developing this concept, we wanted to be more than just a restaurant; we wanted to create an experience [where] you can eat, dine, lounge anywhere and move throughout our hotel comfortably,” says Jason Pomeranc, CEO of Sixty Hotels, which operates the Nautilus. 

The lobby of the 250-room hotel will feature the Driftwood Room, a classic cocktail bar named after the Nautilus’ original supper club from 1951. The beachfront property was formerly known as the Continental Oceanfront South Beach Hotel before Sixty Hotels renovated it to become Nautilus South Beach. 

The Nautilus joins several brand-new hotels along that stretch of Collins Avenue. And Guarnaschelli, a familiar face at the annual Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, will be the latest celeb chef to enter the Miami restaurant fray that includes Tom Colicchio, Masaharu Morimoto, Spike Mendelsohn, Dale Talde, Paul Qui, Scott Conant and others.