Janine Booth and Jeff McInnis liked their South Miami location of Root & Bone so much they’re opening another restaurant next door.
Mi’talia Kitchen & Bar, the chef couple’s take on modern Italian fare with an emphasis on fresh vegetables, will open across from their Root & Bone in mid September, they said. Their restaurants, which will share a outdoor patio, take over a renovated corner of US 1, with floor-to-ceiling window to make a scenic setting for their brand of elegant yet approachable food.
“These are ‘cheffed up’ versions of classics you remember,” Booth said. “We think it’s going to be a great addition to the neighborhood.”
The couple, which also owns Stiltsville Fish bar in Miami Beach’s Sunset Harbor, had been planning a fast-casual pizza restaurant in Chicago, testing and perfecting recipes, when they said the opportunity arose to take over a spot left vacant when Hank and Harry’s Deli closed last fall.
So they expanded their idea for Italian fare and allowed Booth to tap back into her early memories of growing up in her father’s family-style Italian restaurant in Perth, Australia.
“I mean, it was called the Sicilian. You can’t get more Italian than that,” she said. “That’s where my love of Italian got sparked.”
At Mi’talia, the couple will look to find ways to incorporate more plant-based dishes into their food. Pastas will be made daily, visible to diners in a corner of the restaurant. And the pizzas are a thin, lighter Neapolitan style.
A full menu isn’t available but a press release highlights dishes such as Sunflower Pizza with golden tomatoes, yellow squash and pistachio pesto. The chili mussels are flavored with spicy salami, Calabrian chilies and lemon. And a chicken parmesan is made with locally made burrata. They will use mozzarella cheese pulled locally by artisans Mimmo’s Mozzarella.
Mi’talia is the latest restaurant addition for the couple, which expanded their Root & Bone from New York City to South Miami earlier this year. McInnis was cited by the James Beard foundation in 2012 and 2013, when he was a finalist for best chef in the South. And Booth was named a semifinalist for a James Beard Rising Star Chef award in 2018. Both were contestants on Bravo’s “Top Chef.” They partnered with Grove Bay Hospitality Group, which has also backed Giorgio Rapicavoli’s Glass & Vine and “Top Chef” winner Jeremy Ford’s Stubborn Seed.
Mi’talia Kitchen & Bar
- Where: 5958 S. Dixie Hwy., South Miami
- Opening: September 2019