Oolite Restaurant & Bar
1661 Pennsylvania Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Mon - Tue : CLOSED
Wed - Thu: 5:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Fri - Sat: 5:00 PM - 12:00 AM
About Oolite Restaurant & Bar
Oolite received 3.5 stars from the Miami Herald and the Sun Sentinel and Best Restaurant 2014 Golden Spoon from Florida Trend, for Chef Partner Kris Wessel's unique, original concept of Healthy Regional Cuisine inspired by the food culture and the bounty of product in the region of Florida, the American South, the Caribbean and South America. Created as a healthy based cuisine, the entire menu is gluten free and protein specific. Wessel was nominated for Best Chef South (2010) by the James Beard Foundation. Oolite's kitchen is diverse in technique using modern and time tested approaches to production including slow cooking, poaching, steaming, smoking, grilling, dehydrating and preserving. The seasonal menu allows for a continual creative approach while always identifying with locals on favorite food use and recipes. In December 2014 Chef Wessel introduced the Vegan & Vegetarian component of the Oolite Restaurant & Bar culinary concept, complementing Healthy Regional Cuisine and Gluten Free. Destined to become an icon and housed in a Frank Gehry building, Oolite is just two steps off Lincoln Road, adjacent to the Convention Center and the Fillmore Theater. Oolite's Craftsman interior design references mid century American with lush wood hand crafted tables and wainscoting, glass and pure Oolite limestone rock. The Artisanal wine and beer program is consistently noticed for originality. Total capacity is 284, with two private rooms for groups and Outdoor Dining.
For twenty years, Kris Wessel has created a most important dialogue between the bounty of the Southeast region's resources, culture and cuisine.
Wessel, born in Florida, has a culinary DNA formed in the great food city of New Orleans. Early and throughout his teenage years, he had a love affair with the kitchens of tourist crowded, French style restaurants; gaining skills by running, prepping and cooking. At 21, Wessel completed his Bachelor's degree in Hotel Restaurant Management at Florida International University in Miami. Wessel followed this with an immeasurably valuable nine month apprentice tour in Europe, where he staged at Michelin starred restaurants in Austria, Spain, France and Italy.
Wessel began his working career in earnest under Mango Gang pioneer, Mark Militello at Mark's Place. Over the course of three years, he trained up from Sous Chef to Executive Chef. This experience and his ambition motivated the launch his first Owner - Operator concept. Paninoteca a Eurostyle sandwich shop, opened on Lincoln Road in 1996, Paninoteca was a commercial success and more importantly, introduced the craftsmanship and personality of Kris Wessel to the community. His blue collar ethics and workmanship were noticed and embraced by his consumer, the media and the community. In three years time, Wessel followed with Liaison. He built Liaison with his own hands. Wessel sculpted and cultivated the artful Florida - Louisiana culinary based restaurant in a chef driven concept. Liaison became his signature culinary statement and destination. Guests and media flocked to the restaurant housed in a landmark deco era building just off hipster Espanola Way. Guests entered through the restored hand carved wooden bifold doors, and floor to ceiling white cotton curtains swaying in the sea breeze. Then past the metal bar and transported into an environment cloned from the Quarter. The ambiance shrouded you in palpable, perfectly balanced lighting. Sconce and fixtures threw sufficient light to find your way but cloaked you in an atmosphere of another time. Recovered wood floors sometimes spoke to you in creaks explaining the vintage stories of its past. Wessel was encased in a partially visible kitchen only slightly larger than a New York City Galley kitchen occasionally jetting by in the open space, sometimes stationary while he contemplated over the finish of a plate about to be picked up and other times looking out at fans and friends, flashing that famous smile. But always producing a dining experience so unique it demanded and deserved all the attention it received.
Wessel's prescient vision and nearly perfect pitch with Liaison gave him the credibility to Brand a cuisine direction. He created New Mediterranean Cuisine at Elia (2003) in Bal Harbour Shops. This bold statement of a comprehensive branded culinary direction from a young chef placed Wessel onto the national stage. In a very brief period of 18 months he established the imprimatur of the cuisine, received a "Rising Star of American Cuisine" notice from Star Chefs and a Nomination for Best Chef South (2010) from the James Beard Foundation. Chef Wessel sowed additional seeds of a greening reputation with national media including the New York Times, Food & Wine, The Washington Post and NBC each covering his rise and impact. Chef Wessel staged and hosted a dinner with Patricia Quintana to underpin his philosophy that Regional cooking is not only geography but creativity in texturing flavor from indigenous resources. His New Mediterranean James Beard Foundation Dinner was among the most successful ever presented. The matching and layering of flavors using regional foods that touched upon the Mediterranean yielded the unexpected and potent results of a 52nd Street after hours Bop session circa 1953. Chef Kris Wessel's tone is always reaching forward; always original.
As ambitious as it is creative Oolite Restaurant & Bars's Cuisine is first a healthy Regional dining concept designed with the signature flavors and culture of the environs and a healthy application of Protein with influences from Florida, the Gulf, the Caribbean, and the American eastern seaboard. In his 3.5 star Miami Herald Review Editor Evan Benn described the cuisine this way: Oolite Restaurant & Bar's commitment to gluten-free ingredients cooked with regional flavors does not limit its ability to impress. Wessel paints from a subtropical-seeped palette, squeezing acid from Key limes and sour oranges; sussing sweetness from guava, guanabana and late-season mangoes; and sourcing proteins from Florida farms and local waters. Chef Wessel's authentic, progressive Healthy Regional is a "new" way of dining where all items on this menu and used in the kitchen are gluten free with zero processed sugars, oils or grain. Oolite Restaurant & Bar amplifies Chef Kris Wessel's credibility to create original Regional concepts with this 3.0 version. The evolution being Red Light, Florida Cookery and now Oolite Restaurant & Bar. Reinforcement validation of Miami's first and only 100% gluten free restaurant concept was provided for by a second 3.5 star review by John Tanasychuk, Food Editor and Dining Critic for the Sun Sentinel and a Golden Spoon from Florida Trend's Food Editor Chris Sherman for Best new Restaurant 2014.