Giorgio Rapicavoli (Theta Delta) to open restaurant in Coconut Grove this upcoming January

The chef invested his $10,000 winnings into a small pop-up restaurant in Coral Gables called Eating House. The 48-seater was an instant hit, with customers sometimes waiting hours to sample the young chef’s innovative take on modern American cuisine. The pop-up was reopened as a permanent restaurant in the same spot. In spring 2014, Rapicavoli and partner Alex Casanova opened Taperia Raca, a small tapas restaurant in the MiMo District. The restaurant closed about six months later, with the partners saying, “We simply received an offer for the location that we could not turn down.”

The great migration of chefs to Coconut Grove continues with the imminent opening of Glass & Vine in Peacock Park, at the old library space (2820 McFarlane Rd.) in Miami.

Grove Bay Hospitality Group and Giorgio Rapicavoli will open the restaurant in January 2016. The chef is designing the restaurant menu and cocktail program. Two years ago, Rapicavoli created the drink menu at his Drinking Room pop-up at Hotel Astor.

The restaurant is the first in what Grove Bay Hospitality Group calls its larger vision for Coconut Grove. In 2013, the group, helmed by Francesco Balli and Ignacio Garcia-Menocal, was awarded a 50-year lease with the City of Miami for a seven-acre property along Coconut Grove’s waterfront. That property included Grove Bay Marina and Scotty’s Landing. The project, called the Harbour, is still hotly contested by longtime Grovites, who see it as a threat to the Grove’s bohemian charm. When completed, the project will include two upscale restaurants and a casual outdoor place with an outdoor entertainment area. There will also be an expansive and elevated indoor/outdoor event space overlooking the bay, a marina with 400 boat slips, a bay walk, retail shops, and a public minipark.

Grove Bay Hospitality Group’s Garcia-Menocal says the restaurant with Rapicavoli is the cornerstone in his group’s plans. “Glass & Vine is just the beginning of what we have in store. Peacock Park is a gorgeous setting for a restaurant, and we want to bring something unique to the area, an eatery that is a must-try destination. Foodies who don’t call the Grove home will want to experience it, and locals will call it their new neighborhood hangout.”

n keeping with its name, the 200-seat restaurant will feature a vine-covered roof with ceiling windows and gray and black accents. A 24-seat bar will boast garage-style glass walls to bring the outside in. The space will also offer waterfront dining.

Balli says he and his partner had Rapicavoli in mind long before the project was a reality. “We are big fans of Giorgio’s food and have followed him for some time. We knew we wanted to work with him on what we think will be an important restaurant for the Grove and a trend-setter in South Florida. To us, he’s one of a handful of young chefs in the area leading us forward into exciting new territory, and we’re lucky to have him as a partner.”

Rapicavoli has spent time in Europe to seek inspiration for the menu, which will feature sharable large and small plates inspired by the restaurant’s garden. “I was definitely inspired by the environment. No other restaurant is located in a park, so I wanted to capture the atmosphere with vibrant, fresh dishes. Our menu will showcase flavorful as well as lighter fare that families can enjoy while their kids play in the park.”

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