By Nicole Schubert | March 28, 2018 | People
Ocean Drive spoke with the owner of Casa Tua, Miky Grendene, about the inspiration behind the brand and what Miamians can expect from his newest luxury food hall.
Casa Tua means home. And with outposts in Miami Beach, Aspen, and now, Saks in Brickell City Centre, owner Miky Grendene has three homes—each as impeccable, indulgent, and immaculate as the next. Paying close attention to detail, gourmet cuisine service, fine art, and flawless floral arrangements, he has established an Italian lifestyle for Miami locals to escape to on any given night. Ocean Drive sat down with Grendene to talk about his vision for these virtuous villas, his secrets to planning the perfect dinner party, his soulful Italian homemade cuisine, and his plans for the future.
Can you tell Ocean Drive readers, what is the Casa Tua lifestyle?
Miky Grendene: Good living. Each one of us is different, but my vision is centered around, 'less is more.' Keep it simple, give back, and enjoy every detail—the small details make a big difference. For me, lifestyle is remembering to laugh a lot and approach everything with a smile. You need to be able to make fun of yourself, be light, be happy, and be soulful. It’s also about embracing nature and protecting it. We try to make a difference and create awareness. Everything I do with Casa Tua is aimed towards reminding people to enjoy life.
What inspired this home away from home model? How are you able to achieve this for guests?
MG: I am a host by nature. My wife Leticia and I have always loved to have our home filled with friends laughing, eating, and creating memories together. When we moved to Miami 21 years ago, we wanted to build an extension of our own home—and that is how Casa Tua was born. The building itself is a historic Miami Beach house so there's an inherent level of intimacy built into the space. Paired with good food, familiar service, and privacy, we were lucky enough to develop a place with soul. It is the soul that keeps people coming back.
Tell us about the Casa Tua brand. How did it all begin?
MG: With a risk. I came from a real estate background, with no experience in food and beverage, but I bought this historic home anyway. I kept the bones and transformed it into a place where people could enjoy great food in a classic, comfortable setting. I think my inexperience worked to my advantage. I created something that felt like home, and everyone loves the comforts of their own casa.
Casa Tua restaurant, hotel, and private club in Miami Beach has been an icon since it opened 16 years ago. Tell us about it.
MG: The literal translation of Casa Tua is ‘your home.’ Casa Tua is more than just a restaurant or a hotel, it is a total experience of good, ethically sourced food, fine art, warm service, and of course, great company.
You just opened Casa Tua Cucina, a gourmet Italian and Mediterranean-inspired restaurant and marketplace in Saks Fifth Avenue Brickell City Centre. What was your inspiration for this?
MG: I have an intense passion for food and love sharing that with everyone. I have always believed the kitchen has soul, it's the heart of a home—it’s where families share, cook, eat, and laugh together. I wanted to recreate this experience on a larger scale for people to be able to see, touch, and understand how we work and how we prepare our food. We believe that sharing good, ethically sourced food is one of the highest expressions of love. We have selected a group of passionate chefs from around the world to help us source the best artisans and small producers who pour their hearts into their work. Saks was the perfect partner and destination to expand our presence in alliance with their understanding of luxury.
What can Miami locals and tourists find at the luxurious food hall?
MG: At Casa Tua Cucina we want our guests to feel like they are enjoying a meal at home. Casa Tua Cucina offers an environment of sharing, a place where you can enjoy food and drinks with family, friends, and co-workers on a daily-basis. There are 10 gourmet dining stations with chefs preparing everything from hand-made pasta to fresh salads and Hamachi right in front of you. Each station offers a distinct product and specializes in different ingredients, allowing us to serve a better quality meal to our guests.
An expert in hosting private dinner parties, can you tell readers your secret to planning the perfect dinner party?
MG: It’s important to invite a great mix of people with an interesting synergy to create a spirit where everyone feels like part of the house. If I cook, I ask people to help me in the kitchen so automatically they feel like part of the family. If you foster a welcoming environment, your guests will feel comfortable and their experience will be more memorable.
What ingredients and flowers would you choose from Casa Tua Cucina to bring to your next dinner party?
MG: For an easy dinner party, I would start with our fantastic smoked salmon, our specialty caviars, and some cold cuts and cheeses. I would then serve our fresh, homemade pasta with one of our sauces prepared daily in-house. For the second piatti, I would serve a meat or fish—both of which you can purchase fresh from our Cucina. For dessert, offer a selection of fresh cheeses with our specialty honey made from local artisans in the Florida Keys. Leticia also loves bringing home our freshly made mixed berry tart.
We specialize in orchids, I am an orchid fanatic! They last more than a month and re-flower every year. Use them for your dinner party and when they lose their flowers tie them to your trees outside and grow your garden. I also use a lot of candles. A key factor for a party is lighting—keep it soft and plentiful. Throw on a great playlist and your guests won’t want to leave!
Out of all of your favorite dishes at Casa Tua and Casa Tua Cucina, which one do you recommend readers to try first?
MG: Try it all! The concept is designed around sharing food and laughs together. My goal was to change the way we experience food and beverage, and encourage dining to be a more communal experience. A large group can order a plate from each station and taste a bit of everything.
Where do you envision opening the next Casa Tua?
MG: In cities where I love to be—and there are many—including Marida, Tulum, New York, Bahamas, Paris, Los Angeles, Florence. We are developing a special Casa Tua Hotel Residence concept in these interesting and unique urban and non-urban areas.
Do you have plans for Casa Tua to go global?
MG: Not only do I hope to expand Casa Tua Cucina with Saks and develop the Hotel Residences, I am also working to create a global membership club at some of the most beautiful properties around world with a shared philosophy of passion, love,and sustainability to further develop the Casa Tua lifestyle. Stay tuned.
Photography by Marcello Cassano