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YoungArts opening eatery-lounge

The National YoungArts Foundation will open a restaurant and lounge on the top floor of the Tower building in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood. The foundation moved into the former Bacardi headquarters in 2012.
The National YoungArts Foundation will open a restaurant and lounge on the top floor of the Tower building in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood. The foundation moved into the former Bacardi headquarters in 2012. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

The National YoungArts Foundation, which moved into the historic Bacardi complex in Edgewater two years ago, will open a restaurant and performance space on the top floor of one of its iconic buildings.

Called Ted's at YoungArts after co-founder Ted Arison, the Frank Gehry-designed restaurant is set to open in December with dinner five nights a week and a regular schedule of visual and performing arts.

Stephen Starr Events, from the Philadelphia-based restaurateur whose empire also includes Verde at the nearby Pérez Art Museum Miami, will handle the food and beverage operations on the seventh floor of the blue-and-white tiled Tower building.

Foundation president and CEO Paul Lehr said a restaurant has been part of the plan for the campus, 2100 Biscayne Blvd., from the very beginning.

“We wanted to have a venue, a way of bringing the community in on a much more regular basis,” he said.

Details about the restaurant, including the concept, are still being finalized. It will have roughly 85 seats, a large glass bar with a backdrop of city views and a menu of mostly small plates.

“We just want it to feel very comfortable and be a great experience between music and great food,” said Simon Powles, president and CEO of Starr Restaurants Catering Group. Starr’s company will also provide catering at the venue for special events.

Lehr said his vision is to create a space where “foodies are going to want to come and get surprised by great art and entertainment, or people who are into art and entertainment are surprised by the great [food and beverage].”

YoungArts, established in Miami in 1981 by Carnival Cruise Lines founder Ted Arison and his wife, Lin, identifies and nurtures artists between the ages of 15 and 18. Every year, hundreds of students are chosen for intensive weeklong programs in a handful of locations around the country to work with mentors. Alumni include high-profile actors Viola Davis, Adrian Grenier and Kerry Washington; performers Josh Groban and Nicki Minaj, and visual artist Hernan Bas.

Performers at Ted’s will include YoungArts alums, masters who have worked with the program and local and national artists with whom the organization has worked or hopes to work.

“For years and years, we would have this one week of activity and then we’d sort of disappear, so people didn’t really realize that this organization was right here in their backyard,” Lehr said. “With this new campus ... we really want to be much more a part of this community and have a place where the community can come for all sorts of arts and culture.”

The announcement follows recent news that Books & Books will open a restaurant and bookstore in the historic former Sears Tower at the nearby Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, meaning the once-sleepy strip of Biscayne Boulevard will get some new life by the end of the year.

Steven Haas, who opened his City Hall restaurant just south of the YoungArts campus in 2011, said he’s happy to have so much company.

“Is it competition? I don’t think so,” said Haas, who is also chairman of the board of directors for the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. “It just creates a synergy for a neighborhood.”

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