While pop-up restaurants themselves are fleeting, the trend of temporary eateries is here to stay. But for those few remarkable chefs who incorporate all the right ingredients, pop-ups can indeed go permanent. The first-ever Miami winner of Food Network's Chopped, Giorgio Rapicavoli is one of these success stories.
His Coral Gables restaurant, Eating House, started out as a six month pop-up. Last December, the now-permanent restaurant celebrated its one-year anniversary. “We’re always adding something new, something different to the scene. Even though we’ve been permanent a year already, we know it's important to always keep things fresh,” says Rapicavoli. “I think we know ourselves and our style well. Be it the dishes we serve or the clothes we wear, we just try to do us . . . [and there's] a lot of ‘us’ to share.”
Rapicavoli's take on poutine.
Diners rave about the tongue-in-cheek Wakin-N-Bacon Sunday brunch, with hearty hangover dishes like carbonara eggs Benedict, Mexican chilaquiles, cookies and cream waffles, and Cap’n Crunch pancakes, not to mention Tang mimosas. Rapicavoli has also reworked some of his more popular recipes in the transition from pop-up to permanent, such as the heirloom Homestead tomatoes with lime, ginger, nuoc cham, peanuts, frozen coconut milk, herbs, petals, and shoots.
How does Rapicavoli keep the inspirational fires burning? “I love eating at incredible restaurants around the world and remembering the flavors and techniques I taste, but I also tend to remember the feeling the dishes, atmosphere, and even town evoke—the feeling of the whole experience,” he explains. “I’ll take inspiration from that . . . so it can be a completely different dish in every sense, but to me, it will bring back those great emotions. That usually renders a great dish for me.” 804 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, 305-448-6524