Even if you think you’re not familiar with Major Food Group, trust us when we say you most definitely are – these are the people behind not only Carbone, but also Contessa, Dirty French and the Boca Raton, after all. With a portfolio that extends across the US and into the Middle East and Asia, Major Food Group is one of the world’s most influential hospitality powerhouses.
The latest addition to the group is Chateau ZZ’s, a private members club slash restaurant hiding away in a restored manor house in Miami’s glittery Brickell district. While Chateau ZZ’s marks MFG’s eighth venture in Miami alone, as its first Mexican-inspired concept, the opening is a move away from the group’s classic formula. Mexican dishes in a European-style mansion might not be the most obvious of pairings, but leave it to MFG to make it work; reservations through January are already stacked out.
“There’s no mansion in Miami that comes even close to matching the uniqueness of this property —an unbelievable destination that feels as if it was built for MFG and the creation of Chateau ZZ’s,” said MFG co-founder Jeff Zalaznick ahead of the December 22 opening.
“The estate has never looked more glorious, and we’re about to open the exceptional Mexican restaurant that Miami has always needed but never had. The incredible new chapter starts now.”
Having mastered the art of Italian- and French-inspired restaurants, the Major Food Group has now turned its attention to Central America with the restaurant portion of Chateau ZZ’s marking the portfolio’s first-ever Mexican-style menu. The offering is by no means authentic; instead, it cherry-picks select Central American flavors and ingredients and builds them into MFG’s classic nostalgic style.
The raw bar offers oysters, snapper ceviche and clam aqua chile, while the appetizer list features a Caesar salad, grilled corn – elote style – and Wagyu tostadas. Entrees feature a selection of meat- and fish-led courses – from mole lamb chops to lobster fideos – all served with traditional garnishes and accompaniments: House-made tortillas, salsas and a fresh radish and herb plate.
Drinks by no means take a back seat. The beverage program is bolstered by its 1,000-labels-strong tequila and mezcal lineup, with a global selection of wines to delve into. The cocktail list has been conjured up by MFG’s head of bars Nathan McCarley-O’Neill and, naturally, leads with margaritas – there are no less than eight signatures to choose from.
We all know restaurants aren’t just about the food; nowadays, a successful hospitality venture must look the part too. Design is somewhere where MFG really walk the walk but for this project it has upped the ante even further, enlisting the help of visionary San Francisco design firm Ken Fulk Inc. to restore the historic chateaux to its former glory.
The property itself dates to 1931 when it was built as a private residence and has since been designated as a historically protected building. MFG’s takeover marks the first time it has been available to the public.
The restaurant portion of Chateau ZZ’s sits on the building’s first floor, with several dining areas spread across both indoors and out – guests can take their pick of picturesque gardens, a stunning solarium, and a vibrant bar and lounge.
The second floor, however, is home to Chateau ZZ’s strictly member’s only club. This secluded setting is comprised of an atmospheric lounge with a vaulted ceiling and open fire, as well as a vibey outdoor terrace.
MFG co-founders and chefs Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi continue to be the driving force behind the group’s menu concepts, despite its globe-spanning reach. The portfolio was born in 2011 when the duo first joined forces with entrepreneur Jeff Zalaznick, with the simple aim of producing a multi-faceted hospitality brand.
The project started with Torrisi Italian Specialties – a humble Manhattan joint – before eventually expanding to become one of the nation’s best-known restaurant groups. Now, it operates in six countries and 11 cities, with a staggering total of over 50 restaurants.
Chateau ZZ’s, 1500 Brickell Avenue, Miami, FL 33129, US, chateauzzs.com