Celebrity chef Donatella Arpaia to take over two Miami restaurants

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Earlier today Donatella Arpaia, seasoned restaurateur, television personality and certified Neapolitan pizzeria, announced her return to the culinary world.

Arpaia, which is 50, will take over the operations of two Coral Gables restaurants, Redfish and Forte.

When Arpaia moved to Miami from New York with her husband and their young son in 2018, she was pregnant with twins. Two years later, when the pandemic hits, the chef recounts new timesshe used the downtime to explore Miami neighborhoods to figure out what she could create from a unique culinary perspective.

Arpaia says she found precisely that with Redfish and Forte, two restaurants that are, not coincidentally, close to her Pinecrest home.

“For me to start over in this business, it had to be the perfect place and for me to feel inspired,” says Arpaia. “Both concepts are really what I see as a void in the region, and from there I give them my Italian touch.”

Both restaurants were opened by Miami chef Adrianne Calvo, who announced in a pair of Instagram posts on June 22 that she would be stepping down from the Coral Gables businesses she started amid the pandemic in partnership with Barreto Hospitality. .

Arpaia, who will pick up where Calvo left off with Barreto, says she is excited to return to the culinary world in Miami. Known as a pioneer lawyer turned culinary phenomenon, Arpaia left a career in law to open her first restaurant, Bellini, at age 25, followed by Davidburke & Donatella.

She then attended the French Culinary Institute and continued her studies in Naples under master pizza maker Enzo Coccia. This is followed by a series of popular New York-based establishments, including Mia Dona, Anthos, Kefi and Eos, and the eponymous Donatella.

Today, the celebrity chef is best known as the founder of Prova Pizzabar and Chief Justice of Food Network. Iron Chef America and The next iron boss.

She says new times she immediately “fell in love” with the renovated Redfish, located in Matheson Hammock Park and Coral Gables’ only waterfront restaurant.

“It’s such a special place, a real diamond in the rough that I consider a gem for this neighborhood and Miami,” says Arpaia. “And only two kilometers from my house, it will allow me to be in a restaurant. Presence is important to me and I intend to play an important role in what happens in the kitchen.

On Saturday, July 2, Forte will close while renovations begin. After a complete remodeling, a relaunch is planned for October. Arpaia says a new name has not yet been chosen but the restaurant will be rooted in traditional Italian cuisine that reflects seasonality and coastal dishes influenced by the Iberian Peninsula. The restaurant’s wood-fired oven will bring Arpaia’s pizza skills into play, offering what it describes as a mix of traditional and unique offerings (the latter represented by a sea urchin and burrata pie) as well a selection of small plates suitable for hot days. .

As for Redfish, the restaurant will remain open as Arpaia oversees a transitional menu. An official relaunch is planned for 2023, with a new name and a menu that emphasizes seafood and Italian specialties like the house version of Arpaia on Sicilian-style brioche and ice cream sandwiches.

“I want to focus on fish crudo, light fare, and a lunch menu with a ton of really good salads – which I feel is kind of a lost art and definitely something Miami is missing,” says Arpaia, who intends to keep the Redfish laid back. atmosphere while offering a high level of service and enhancing the nightlife.

“I consider this place a crown jewel for the region and I want to make sure that is reflected in what I do,” she explains.

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