The Local, as regulars call The Local Craft Food & Drink, is a gastropub on restaurant row in Coral Gables that is anchored by an old cherrywood bar from an Irish pub. It serves inventive Southern-style cooking with Miami influences.
Produce and artisan products are sourced locally or as close by as possible, such as Anson Mills stoneground grits from the Carolinas and cheeses from Sweet Grass dairy in Georgia. Butter, beef jerky, pickles and sauces are made in-house.
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Signature dishes are always available, but each week there are new menu items. Snacks such as boiled peanuts with celery salt and pimento cheese also are available in between lunch and dinner seatings, good with a craft beer or cocktail.
Chef Phil Bryant (formerly of Swine) started last year, hired by owner Carmen Mallea when Alberto Cabrera moved on, and he has slowly made the menu his own.
The northern Virginia native gravitated toward cooking as a young boy, as his French-born mother made sure the family ate home-cooked, American-style meals together. She would drag him to farms and orchards to pick corn and peaches, and she did her own canning.
At 15, Bryant started on the breakfast shift at a Shoney’s and learned how to be part of a team as a dishwasher at another chain.
After stints at more upscale places in Richmond, he worked for Norman Van Aken at his now-shuttered place in Los Angeles. Bryant followed Van Aken back east to Key West, then to Miami.
He helped open Yardbird and was part of the lunch crew at The Local with Veronica Valdivia (now director of operations) when the spot first opened four years ago; now he’s back.
The Pieces and Parts portion of the menu incorporates offal into boudin noir terrine, country ham rillettes, and smoked sweetbreads with grits and mushroom dashi. From the Field brings salads, grain dishes and vegetables.
Try buttery broken rice grits with bay leaf salt and a basted egg for mixing together with house hot sauce, duck-fat confit sweet potato chunks with sour corn kernels, sour cream and truffled cream.
A summer squash casserole folds smoked tomato in cream and cheddar sauce topped with breadcrumbs.
Small plates for sharing include steak tartare, made with minced flank on deviled-egg mousse with roasted garlic and chive purées and pickled mustard seeds. Caesar salad is topped with rib vaca frita and bacon dressing.
Pulled stewing hen in bourbon broth and thick parmesan gravy has Vidalia onions, kale and buttermilk biscuit puffs. Bryant’s brined, breaded and fried boneless chicken legs with cornbread dressing are served on split-pea purée.
There’s also pulled pork with buttered rice congee with peanut XO sauce.
Entrees include a bacon-crusted burger with a slab of breaded and fried housemade American cheese, and cornmeal-crusted catfish with fries and fennel tartar sauce.
Save room for hot beignets on spoonfuls of buttermilk panna cotta and lemon curd at this sweetly Southern spot.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami-based food writer.