by Emilee Perdue | October 11, 2022
12 New Openings You Have to Visit This Fall Around Florida
Rooftop sculpture gardens, secret listening rooms and lavish hotels await exploration around the Sunshine State.
Going off the reservation is encouraged at Tallahassee’s latest upscale eatery. At The Huntsman, each dish begins at the source, which means they ethically curate wild game and seasonal produce from nearby farms. The menu boasts antelope sirloin, elk tenderloin and a melt-in-your-mouth split ribeye. Not just a canteen for carnivores, The Huntsman offers vegetarians a chef-led journey with a five-course plant-based tasting menu. With crowd pleasers for hunters and gatherers, the menu changes weekly with dishes such as smoked venison loin toast with a chanterelle mushroom conserva and boiled peanut romesco. Daniel Renninger, Ben Williamson and Skylar Stafford, co-owners of The Huntsman, which opened in July, wanted to create an inviting space for diners to satiate their appetite without worrying about the quality of the ingredients. Pair your dish with a South African brut or an Australian rose from their extensive wine selection, allowing you to sip around the world without leaving Leon County.
Decked out in vibrant stripes and neon lights, Hotz Coffee has the java—and the positive juju—to jumpstart your beach day. Grab a cup of cold brew or a strawberry matcha, and then cruise the town on a rentable electric bike for the ultimate Grayton Beach experience. If you need a little protein to propel you, grab a breakfast burrito brimming with eggs, cheese, chorizo and potatoes. Just steps from the sand, Hotz also offers paddleboards for rent (just be sure to wait 30 minutes if you downed one of those burritos). “Hotz is a celebration of the good life,” said owner Jeff Archer. “We want to create a sense of community and inspiration to enjoy the life you want.” For folks doing just that, check out the menu items with an added adult kick. No, we’re not above a little day drinking. instagram.com/hotz_coffee
Santa Rosa Beach
Although Down Island has only been serving genuine Gulf Coast goodness since January, the locals have taken to it like manatees to a natural spring. Led by Brannon and Stefani Janca, a chef and registered dietitian respectively, Down Island’s menu reflects a range of regional influences, from the Big Easy to the Gulf Coast’s barrier islands, with dishes like Brannon’s Sunshine State-take on San Francisco cioppino to Korean fried broccoli. Stefani, on the other hand, turns her attention to customizing dishes for diners with dietary restrictions. The power couple’s creativity and skills shine on each plate, both with the fare and the dinnerware itself—Brannon makes his own ceramic plates, bowls and cups. “Part of what makes Down Island so different is the pottery,” he said. “It’s hard to put into words, but many people say they just feel a different, good vibe when they enter the door.” downislandsrb.com
Do Good Beauty
Between the flower murals and racks brimming with trendy finds, it’s nearly impossible to leave this brand-new boutique in Jacksonville’s Murray Hill neighborhood without a smile—and a shopping bag. Co-owners Rachel Wall and Moriah McNutt opened this brick-and-mortar location of Do Good Beauty in February. Find matching athleisure sets, beachy maxi dresses and sunny accessories inspired by Southern charm, disco balls and Dolly Parton. Once you’ve got your OOTD, head to the back of the store for a blowout in the salon. Shoppers are guaranteed to leave Do Good Beauty feeling their best inside and out, since a portion of every sale supports local charities or civic projects, ranging from employing the previously incarcerated to fighting food scarcity. shopdogoodbeauty.com
Step into the Roaring ’20s at Orlando’s first spirit-free speakeasy, which opened in June. The boozeless lounge offers sober sippers an upscale social setting with live music, tableside magicians and a photo booth. Snag a seat at a table lit by gilded lamps and surrounded by vintage baubles from the Golden ’20s. Classic movie quotes adorn The Bandbox’s velvet-draped walls. Listen to jazz while sipping a faux tequila smoked mango margarita with a jalapeno on the side or a tequila-alternative-spiced cinnamon maple coffee cocktail for an autumnal taste. “Orlando is such an untapped market when it comes to the world of non-alcoholic,” said owner Kevin Zepf. “As the cards unfolded, it became the perfect time to bring an experience like this to the theme-park capital of the U.S.” bandboxorlando.com
Soleil Bakery and Social House
Melanie Patrick knew it was time to open a storefront when people kept showing up on her doorstep every night. The skilled baker began selling her confection creations on the weekends at the Ocala Downtown Market, but once people got a taste of her French macarons, decadent cheesecake bars and gooey sticky buns, they didn’t want to wait until the weekend. So, they’d show up at her house on weeknights hoping to catch a batch fresh out of the oven. To satiate the locals’s unending appetite for all things sweet, Patrick opened Soleil Bakery and Social House in April. The cozy cafe illuminated with chandeliers boasts big display cases full of stuffed cookies as thick as phone books, strawberry blondie squares and savory tarts bursting with bacon and gruyere. Even those with gluten intolerances can indulge, because every delicacy is made gluten-free, although most customers don’t realize it. Soleil, French for “sun,” perfectly captures the warmth Patrick exudes to all her customers. “Everyone is welcome here,” Patrick said. “We are like family.” facebook.com/soleilocala
Beware: You might not want to eat at this new upscale, cutting-edge Korean restaurant. That’s because some guests say doing so feels like you’re destroying a piece of art. Owners Gene Kim, Michael and Ray Gillette present an unconventional take on traditional Korean cuisine with multicourse meals and artfully assembled ingredients. Doshi, which opened in July, already has some foodies demanding a Michelin star for its mouthwatering wagyu bulgogi and flavorful lacto-fermented kimchi. Customers rave about the attention to detail, taste and texture in each dish. Sous chefs expertly present guests with their plates, which are often bubbling with foam or smoking with liquid nitrogen. Take the red bean mousse, for example, that’s sculpted to look like a koi fish, or the Forest Floor dessert, a chocolate crumble topped with edible mushroom-shaped masterpieces. The three owners have already expanded from their tiny six-seat chef’s table experience to a 35-seat dining room with an outdoor patio, and judging from their five-star reviews, that’s likely just the beginning.
A gourmet dinner is best paired with live music, according to Café-Boutique Piano owners Andrei and Larisa Makhaev. The couple’s years spent living in Europe inspired them to open this Winter Park restaurant celebrating the region’s cuisine. Their motto, “From the East to the West,” informs each dish with Old World flavor and flare. Share mussels layered in creamy gorgonzola sauce while sipping on a pomegranate Tintoretto, one of the many specialty drinks on the cocktail menu. On weekend nights, hear local musicians creating good vibrations from behind the restaurant’s cherished pink piano. From its classical tunes to its caramel fudge cheesecake, Café-Boutique Piano, offers a multisensory evening sure to satisfy all of your culinary and cultural cravings. instagram/cafeboutiquepiano
Opened September 2021, Dante’s Hifi is a swanky listening lounge that locals like to keep on the down-low. With DJs spinning classic vinyl, bartenders serving innovative cocktails and listeners discovering their new favorite tracks, it’s no secret why this intimate space is overflowing with audiophiles and casual bargoers alike. Music Director Rich Medina pulls from his history as an Afrobeat DJ to cultivate the cozy and creative atmosphere. The wooden bookshelf that serves as the backdrop for the bar teems with Medina’s extensive record collection, all within arms reach of the DJ, who spins everything from smooth jazz to psychedelic funk. Search the low-lit setting for a corkboard scattered with Polaroids of past celebrity guests before throwing back a Freddie Freeloader or a Bluzudrop, some of the bar’s Miami-inspired signature drinks. This speakeasy’s discreet alleyway entrance may be difficult to find, but when you hear the booming bass and soulful saxophone, you’ll know you’re in the right place. danteshifi.com
Dine in the beautiful Basque Country without a passport at this Vin & Pinxto Bar, which opened in January. El Basque’s menu offers the many flavors of the Hegoalde region with dishes like Beganoa, stuffed Piquillo peppers, and Rossejat Noir, a traditional paella-style pasta dish with squid-ink shrimp and calamari. Their pintxos, Spanish finger foods, are meant to be shared with others, but these delicious dishes might be too divine to pass around. If you order the Sagar Txerria, Iberico pork loin with a balsamic glaze, we understand why you would want to keep it all to yourself. This South Florida spot is an artful ode to the unique Pyrenees Mountain range serving Rioja wines, French chardonnays and traditional Basque flan. Bask in the sweetness of Selva Gateau or the beloved burnt cheesecake, which are both offered on the dessert menu. Between the foreign artwork and unique dishes you won’t find anywhere else, it’s a gourmet getaway. elbasque.com
See Coral Gables from a brand new vantage point when you book a stay at the latest addition to The City Beautiful’s skyline. With four restaurants and lounges, a multitude of indoor and outdoor gathering spaces and the biggest ballroom in Coral Gables, the Loews is the ultimate venue and vacation wrapped into one. The newest member of the Loews family boasts the classic American glamour the brand is known for—a luxurious spa, rooftop swimming pool and sophisticated suites—but with a special emphasis on distinguished dining experiences. Helmed by Executive Chef Ricardo Jarquin, a longtime Miami culinary king, the Loews food and beverage concepts include a poolside restaurant with South Florida-inspired small bites, a lively lobby bar that welcomes guests with an expertly crafted classic cocktail and an upscale sit-down spot, Americana Kitchen, with a chef’s table experience. loewshotels.com
Sidney’s Rooftop Sculpture Garden
Spend the evening sipping a glass of wine among the stars and sculptures at the newly unveiled rooftop bar at the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center in Fort Myers. Opened last summer, Sidney’s Rooftop is simply a step above the rest when it comes to elevated nightlife. Sing your favorite ballad on karaoke nights, stretch your limits at rooftop yoga or try your hand at painting with a little help from a glass of wine—or the bottle. No matter what fun hobby you choose to pursue, you can enjoy the natural beauty of a Southwest Florida sunset over the Caloosahatchee River and the aesthetic wonders of featured sculptures and paintings on display. Each piece is a sneak peak of the artistry and imagination found inside the Davis Art Center below. sbdac.com