Famed chefs Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth drop anchor in Sunset Harbour, with their new homage to South Florida, Stiltsville Fish Bar.
Peel ‘n’ eat royal red shrimp with boggy bayou aioli & Stiltsville cocktail sauce delights foodies.
To say that Stiltsville Fish Bar is personal to chefs Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth would be an understatement. “Janine and I had our first kiss right across the street,” recalls McInnis, the Florida native who makes up half of the Sunny Side Up Hospitality duo, and has partnered with the successful team at Grove Bay Hospitality Group to launch their latest bayside oasis. “It was by the dock right over there near the marina—I paddled right up to her on a paddleboard.” With fond memories driving the pair to snatch up the opportunity to occupy the former home of local favorites Joe Allen’s, Morgan’s and PB Steak in the bustling Sunset Harbour neighborhood, Stiltsville is the newest chapter of their love story—a labor of love that has been two and a half years in the making.
The heirloom tomatoes and pimento cheese croquette served with boiled goobers, pickled green tomatoes, and molasses vinegar.
“We feel like we’re the missing piece of the puzzle here in the neighborhood,” notes Booth. The front of Stiltsville features a scale outside, as the duo continues to cultivate relationships with local fishing boats. Aiming to offer a rotating handful of fresh-caught selections each day, with a focus on fish from the Atlantic, Gulf and the Caribbean, almost everything served will be nabbed with a spear, hook or net smaller than one of the restaurant’s tables. A glass garage door opens to a marketplace set up in the front, catering to Sunset Harbour’s buzzing athleisure-clad crowd. People will be able to swing in and grab coffee, fresh fish, ready-made fish dip, sauces and even herbs from a centerpiece fresh-herb wall the duo cultivates from Uriah’s Urban Farms in Florida.
The stunning interiors of Stiltsville Fish Bar.
While the spot features the genuine Southern charm and hospitality that Booth and McInnis are known for, the menu is designed to pay great respect to Florida—from Jacksonville and the panhandle down to Fort Lauderdale, the Keys and even a hint of the Caribbean. McInnis’ neighbor growing up in the panhandle was known for his Cajun fare, and diners will see boggy bayou aioli and horseradish remoulade sauces paying homage to the chef’s childhood. Diners can also taste a hint of parenthood from the couple, with the green eggs and ham derived from their love of reading Dr. Seuss to their two girls. Other items are a nod to South Florida’s strong Latin influences—like the salt ’n malt vinegar smashed-potato tostones and the visually stunning smokin’ Havana scallop. Their affinity for classic comfort foods with a chic twist shines in dishes like the decadent sweet corn spoon bread or the buffalo fish wings, with the delectably rich meat from the back of the fish head lightly battered, fried and coated with buffalo sauce. And whatever you do, try the actual fins, which are still attached to savor a crunch far better than your favorite potato chip.
Bar taps made of eye-catching Atlantic swordfish bills, personally sourced by the pair from close friends, pour a selection of brews with offerings showcasing Florida’s own craft beer culture. A mixology program also features twists on classic cocktails, with nothing overly sweet and drinks like a rum sazerac anchoring a vast selection of sipping rums available. A forthcoming rooftop bar will play on the easy-going flip-flop culture of the Keys, complete with full-moon soirées and specials for anyone boasting an authentic mullet hairdo. 1787 Purdy Ave., Miami Beach, 786.353.0477, stiltsvillefishbar.com