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Miami's Culinary Moguls

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Myles Chefetz, one of Miami’s major kingpins, presides over his own South of Fifth Street restaurant kingdom, of which Prime 112 (112 Ocean Dr.; 305-532-8112) is the main attraction. In fact, the steakhouse is consistently ranked as one of the 20 highest-grossing independent restaurants in America (it did $23 million in revenue last year). Opened in 2004, it remains a phenomenon—it’s still hard to get a reservation. Chefetz’s other spots include Prime Italian (101 Ocean Dr.; 305-695-8484), Prime Fish (100 Collins Ave.; 305-532-4550) and Big Pink diner (157 Collins Ave.; 305-532-4700).

What Chefetz is to South of Fifth, the so-called “Pubbelly Boys”—partners­ Ser­gio Navarro, José Mendín and Andreas Schreiner—are to Sunset Har­bour, where they have opened a range of restaurants within a two-block radius. Four years ago there was nothing in the area but a tow-truck company and small businesses. Then the trio debuted Pubbelly (1418 20th St.; 305-532-7555), whose pork belly drew diners from all corners of the city. Their landlord offered up two spaces next door, where they opened Pubbelly Sushi (1424 20th St.; 305-531-9282) and later PB Steak (which closed in August due to, ironically, rising rents). Barceloneta (1400 20th St.; 305-538-9299) was their next hit, followed by L’echon Brasserie (6261 Collins Ave.; 786-483-1611) farther north.

Another prolific figure is John Kunkel (pictured), whose company, 50 Eggs, has had big success with Yardbird Southern Table & Bar (1600 Lenox Ave.; 305-538-5220), known for its fried chicken. Also in his portfolio: Swine Southern Table & Bar (2415 Ponce de Leon Blvd.; 786-360-6433) and Khong River House (1661 Meridian Ave.; 305-763-8147;

Michelle Bernstein, who once ruled with a host of restaurants, is now focusing on the launch of the new 267-seat Seagrape (4041 Collins Ave.; 877-793-8519) at the forthcoming Thompson Miami Beach (

Not all local chefs and restaurateurs are intent on becoming trademarks, though: Anastasia Koutsioukis and Ahmet Erkaya run the Design District’s Mandolin Aegean Bistro (4312 Second Ave.; 305-749-9140), arguably the most authentic locally helmed restaurant in town. Still, they’ve attracted global attention: They are consulting on the culinary program at the Soho House Istanbul, set to open this winter.


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