Miami Developers Tout Celebrity Chefs, Private Dining in Crowded Luxury Market

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Developer Gil Dezer has a problem with how easily the word “luxury” gets thrown around when discussing — or, more to the point, marketing — Miami’s shiny, new residential condominium towers. 

When conceiving his latest venture, the futuristic Bentley Residences in Sunny Isles Beach, Dezer set out to create a building that embodied the true definition of the word. Slated for completion in 2026, the luxury vehicle-branded property designed by Sieger Suarez Architects will be decked out with four car elevators that whisk residents inside their rides up to their sky palaces, all 216 of which are appointed with private swimming pools on their balconies and priced from $5.25 million.

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In addition to these high-flying amenities, Dezer is upping the ante at Bentley with a private restaurant for the exclusive use of residents and their guests, helmed by celebrity chef Todd English, a James Beard Award winner. The crucial element is its exclusivity, said Dezer, as opposed to other so-called luxury projects with marquee restaurants open to the public. 

“All these buildings touting themselves as luxury, they’re not private, they’re not exclusive,” he said. “Anybody with 200 bucks could walk in and have a nice meal. If I just spent $8 million on my condo and I’m sitting at the restaurant with a guy who just pulled in through the valet, where’s the luxury? That’s not exclusivity.”

Dezer is hardly the first to recognize the value of creating a refuge for the jet setters, away from the crowds of tourists and spring breakers. New buildings from Miami Beach to Brickell and Coconut Grove are also debuting exclusive dining concepts in an effort to outdo the competition and attract discerning buyers with loftier amenities and services. 

The forthcoming Perigon Miami Beach will feature a private restaurant and speakeasy by Michelin-starred chef Shaun Hergatt, and Cipriani Residences in Brickell will include a private Cipriani restaurant. (The public will simply have to dine at Miami’s other Cipriani, just up Brickell Avenue, when a craving for bellinis and beef carpaccio strikes.) In Coconut Grove, the OMA-designed Park Grove, which opened in phases starting in 2018, engaged Luxury Residential Services by The Hansen Group in 2021 to provide a private restaurant for its residents.

Just as with his seemingly quixotic car elevator, dubbed the “Dezervator,” Dezer’s private restaurant venture already has a proof of concept with his 2017 Porsche Design Tower, which stands on the oceanfront just south of where Bentley will soon break ground. “We saw at the Porsche Design Tower that the chef is the most popular guy in the building,” says Dezer. “So we said,’ let’s double down and try to get an important chef to be that important guy.’” 

Enter English, who is tasked with creating a concept that residents can enjoy on a daily basis and for special occasions, as well as culinary activations throughout the building’s other spaces, from the whiskey bar to the cigar lounge, the cinema, the swimming pool, and the indoor-outdoor wellness center and spa. A familiar face in Miami during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, English will have his first Miami restaurant at Bentley Residences. He burst onto the culinary scene in the early ’90s with a Beard Award and has since built an empire in his highly decorated, decadeslong career with multiple restaurant concepts spanning Boston, Las Vegas, Dubai and beyond.

“Ultimate luxury keeps redefining itself,” said English. “It doesn’t necessarily mean caviar on your eggs every morning. There’s a certain lifestyle attached to it and simplicity. It’s having everything right there for you. That, to me, is luxury.” 

Part of that lifestyle for Bentley residents will be personalized service, from English and his staff getting to know everyone on a first-name basis to curating menus to meet individual dietary needs and stocking condo refrigerators if, say, a resident returns home late one night.

Dezer and English also anticipate special programming, from New Year’s Eve parties to catered movie nights, personalized birthday celebrations, guest chef collaborations, wine tastings, cooking classes, seminars and more. English also intends to use the Bentley as his test kitchen for a forthcoming cookbook. 

Just a few miles south of Bentley Residences, Camilo Miguel Jr., CEO of Mast Capital, is also placing private dining front and center at the Perigon Miami Beach at 5333 Collins Avenue. The boutique condo, which is slated for completion in 2025 with 73 residences priced from $4.15 million, was conceived in the image of a five-star resort, complete with its own Michelin-starred chef, Hergatt. 

Mast is also developing Cipriani Residences in Brickell, which is slated for completion in 2026 with 397 units asking a minimum $1.4 million. A private outpost of the storied hospitality company’s namesake restaurant and bar will be on site for the exclusive use of its residents and their guests. 

“Today’s buyer is far more discerning than in the past,” Miguel says. “With the migration coming into South Florida from all over the world, we’re trying to do things that appeal to those ultra-high-net-worth individuals who want to be living in Miami.” 

At The Perigon, Chef Hergatt, who is renowned for his technically precise cooking and painterly presentations, will debut his first Mediterranean concept with Nota inside a freestanding building on the property overlooking the pool and beach with the whiskey-focused FiftyThree speakeasy cocktail lounge upstairs. 

For the Australian-born chef, it’s a full-circle moment, having started his career in Miami in 2005 as executive chef at The Setai Miami Beach. That was before he made a name for himself in the New York culinary scene as chef-owner of multiple Michelin-star concepts, including his latest, Vestry in SoHo, which opened in 2020. No stranger to the demands of running a residential restaurant, he also serves as executive chef of the private restaurant at 432 Park Avenue, a supertall on Manhattan’s Billionaire’s Row. 

Just as with the Bentley, the personal touch at The Perigon will be paramount with consideration for dietary needs, special occasions, fielding feedback and beyond. “They own this product,” says Hergatt of residents. “When you’re directly invested in the restaurant — not only financially, but also through your personal life and spending time here with friends and family — it’s important that we understand your requirements.” 

At Cipriani, residents will not only enjoy the exclusive use of a Cipriani restaurant and bar, but they’ll also be able to order room service and plan a party or special event in the building’s private dining rooms and lounges catered by Cipriani. 

Unlike your typical restaurant, private residential restaurants are not designed to be profitable, explains Dezer. Rather, they’re typically subsidized by residents’ maintenance fees, essentially making condo owners stakeholders in the venture. “The key is to keep the food really, really good,” says Dezer, “so people want to come down and use the restaurant as an extension of their apartment.” 

At Park Grove, where Luxury Residential Services runs the private Alluva restaurant, they’ve created the added incentive of monthly dining credits, which roll over and can be accumulated for an entire year. Residents can apply these credits to everything from casual daily meals poolside to private catered affairs. A collaboration between longtime caterer Bill Hansen and chef Aaron Dreilinger, Luxury Residential Services formed in 2021 and has since spearheaded private Alluva restaurants at long-established condominiums in South Florida, including Towerhouse in Miami Beach and L’Hermitage in Fort Lauderdale. 

Alluva menus are inspired by the resort lifestyle with everything from fast-casual to fine dining and personalized experiences available, whether that’s a refined omakase dinner, a private poolside cabana barbecue or popcorn and snacks in the building’s movie theater, per Dreilinger. “I see my best customers every day,” he said. “It’s a hybrid situation where you need both variety and consistency. You don’t want people to get bored, but they also expect the sauce to taste the same every time. You have to be flexible and willing to do something completely different at a moment’s notice.”

For these developers, chefs and residents, the inherent value of private residential restaurants comes down to elevated, personalized service and exclusivity, which, of course, is the very nature of luxury. 

“We’re the only restaurant in the world where it takes $6 million to get a reservation,” said Dezer. “And we want to keep it that way.”