Spike Mendelsohn is the latest Bravo TV Top Chef alum to open a restaurant in South Florida: Sunny’s is coming this summer to new hotel The Hall at 1500 Collins Ave. in Miami Beach.
Named for Mendelsohn’s grandfather, Sunny’s will be a beach-inspired, all-day restaurant open to guests “in flip flops…or dressed up for a night out,” according to press materials. Look for beachy eats like a Gulf Coast grouper Reuben, a Jersey Shore pork roll breakfast sandwich, and a Myrtos Beach-style focaccia “seasoned” with seawater, a trick Mendelsohn picked up from lifeguards on the Greek beach. Mendelsohn also will oversee food for Campton Yard, the hotel’s backyard bar, including made-to-order pizzas.
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“I was a teenager the first time my parents took me to Miami Beach,” Mendelsohn told Miami.com. “I had dyed my hair with Sun-In. We went to Lucky Cheng’s for dinner, which was a blast. For a 15-year-old kid, this was quite a first impression of the city, and I remember thinking, ‘This is a place where you can really be yourself.’
“I knew then that whatever I ended up doing for a living, Miami Beach would be a part of it.”
When it opens in late summer, The Hall aims to present a “tropical modernism” style from designer Robert McKinley throughout its public areas and 164 guest rooms.
The hotel is part of the Joie de Vivre brand, based out of California, which is owned by parent company Commune Hotels & Resorts. Commune is the same group behind the newly opened Thompson Hotel in Miami Beach, home to Seagrape restaurant from Michelle Bernstein (an occasional Top Chef judge) and the forthcoming Talde restaurant from Dale Talde (a former Top Chef contestant).
Sunny’s will be Mendelsohn’s first restaurant in Florida; he currently has three concepts (We, the Pizza; Bernaise; and Good Stuff Eatery) in and around Washington, D.C.
When he arrives in South Florida, Mendelsohn will be surrounded by others associated with the hit Bravo reality cooking show and its offshoot, Top Chef Masters: Fabio Viviani (Siena Tavern), Herb Wilson (Red Ginger), Patricia Yeo (Khong), Tom Colicchio (Beachcraft), Carla Pellegrino (Touche), Bret Pelaggi (Uvaggio) and more.
“Top Chef and the talent it helps give a platform to continues to impress me,” Mendelsohn said. “The chefs that have found a home in Miami Beach and all over the country have really brought out such individualism to so many really successful concepts. I want to see all of us succeed, and I think that Miami Beach is the kind of town that can support all of us.”