Acclaimed celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelsson, a James Beard Award winner, champion of Top Chef Masters, and Chopped All-Stars, has opened his third location of Red Rooster in the historic Overtown district of Miami, at 920 NW 2nd Avenue. After many delays due to the pandemic, he finally opened his doors in late Fall 2020. He teamed up with the Grove Hospitality Group, who have Stubborn Seed, Glass and Vine, and Root and Bone under their umbrella.
They opened in a place that was formerly known as Clyde Killens Pool Hall. Notable entertainers like Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, BB King, Sam Cooke and Sammy David used to hang out after doing a show in Miami.
They spared no expense on this 13,000 square foot space. The place is impressive, with a 208 seat dining room, a huge outdoor garden, a large patio, and multiple private dining spaces. The design features a large curved bar when you enter, tropical colours, handmade Moroccan tiles, and displays of original artwork, modern murals, and sculptures curated by the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Some say it has a speakeasy feel to it, I found it welcoming. They either have live music or the most wonderful selection of gospel, R&B, soul, jazz, and Afrobeats played by a DJ.
There are nods to Miami’s Haitian and Caribbean communities on the menu, plus featured classics like hot honey fried chicken with baked beans, that is out of this world. He serves “American Roots” comfort food, with a contemporary and playful twist. Then he adds some Miami gestures like local fish, and ceviche and tiraditos.
Our server Diana told us all about the signature dishes and best cocktails and didn’t steer us wrong. She even sent Chef Marcus over to our table to say hello. I found him to be friendly and humble, considering he was the youngest chef to ever receive a three star rating in The NY Times and was the honoree at last years tribute dinner at the Miami Food and Wine Festival. He was also the first guest chef at a state dinner during the Obama administration.
His original restaurant was located in Harlem, and he wanted to open in Overtown, the Harlem of the south, and hire staff from within the community.
During the delays of opening his restaurant, he teamed up with my hero, Jose Andres to provide meals to anyone who was in need three days a week at his Red Rooster outpost in Miami. That is the kind of guy he is.
He is inspired by not only Miami’s melting pot of Caribbean and Latin cultures, but also from the region’s abundance of local seafood, citrus farms, and warm sunny weather. He is trying to bring back the incredible history of the area to the people.
Did I mention that the food was excellent? We enjoyed every bite. Chef Marcus is serving up his unique take on elevated American cuisine and also has dishes inspired by his Swedish and Ethiopian roots. I look forward to returning to this special place that incorporates delicious food, fabulous music, and art.