John DeLucie's Royal Opening
by lee brian Schrager
The Raleigh Hotel, one of South Beach’s foremost Art Deco jewels, received a new twist this season with the arrival of The Royal. This new restaurant is the latest endeavor by New York City chef John DeLucie—currently the executive chef and proprietor of The Lion, the buzz-generating toast of Manhattan’s West Village, as well as the founding chef of the celebrity-packed Waverly Inn.
With that kind of background, it’s no wonder The Royal has opened to a wave of applause. But DeLucie’s cooking is upscale with a twist: Famous for his truffled mac and cheese, he allows his unpretentious Italian heritage to permeate his culinary creations.
The resultant delicacies are known for their elegant simplicity. Think of it as comfort food fit for—you guessed it—royalty. “My job is to put the fun back in food,” DeLucie explained, as he sat down with Ocean Driveto tell us a bit more about himself and give a sneak peek of what’s to come.
What made you decide to come to Miami?
JOHN DELUCIE: I’ve loved The Raleigh for as many years as I’ve been coming down to South Beach, so I jumped at the chance to be a part of this project.
How much time do you think you will get to spend here?
I intend to be a visible presence at The Royal. Once the weather drops below 60 degrees in New York, I’ll certainly be spending as much time here as possible!
The Lion in New York is known for its classic American cuisine with an Italian twist. Can we expect a similar approach at The Royal?
It will be very similar to what I am best known for: American contemporary food with a menu whose ingredients are driven by the area. It won’t be tropical at all, though. We will have Chicken Under a Brick, lamb porterhouse and, of course, mac and cheese.
photographs by greg clark
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.