by Kasey Caminiti | October 3, 2018 11:00 am
Groot Hospitality, the brand founded by Miami nightlife impresario and restaurateur David Grutman, is named for its founder’s beloved nickname by clientele with thick European accents. It also happens to be the Dutch translation for “big.” The latter proves fairly fitting, since the Florida-born entrepreneur has huge ambitions for his hospitality empire. Grutman created the label to house his diverse ventures, including star-stacked LIV nightclub and second club Story; Komodo, a pan-Asian dining and drinking den; OTL, a millennial-friendly all-day café, and Planta, an upscale, plant-based culinary import from Toronto. From morning until the wee hours, one never has to leave his world.
“I want to program peoples’ days and be the best place out there for each part,” said Grutman, who makes the rounds to each establishment with a politician’s stamina. “My businesses don’t just run. They need to see my face. Hospitality isn’t just about saying hi either. It’s about caring.”
This fall, Grutman’s 13,500-square-foot collaboration with Pharrell Williams launches in the Miami Design District. The international meetup spot holds Swan restaurant and Bar Bevy with interiors by Ken Fulk, a bicoastal designer known for detailed, narrative settings. Regional talent Raymond Jungles composed its equally thoughtful landscaping.
“The neighborhood has high-end shops but doesn’t have a restaurant where people can hang out all day with great music that also delivers on food over and over again,” he said, of its menus for mixology and small plates with simple fare. “It’s clean eating because people care about where their food comes from now.”
Grutman has grown considerably since his South Beach bartending days in the Nineties. Kaia, his daughter with his Brazilian wife, Isabela, turns one in September. He boxes, works out with a trainer and opts for the grain bowl at OTL. Komodo is gearing up to expand to other cities, while LIV, which already has an outpost at Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins, has popped up at other major sporting and music events such as the Super Bowl and Grammy Awards. Rather than be pigeonholed in his late-night niche, Grutman likes to keep everyone guessing.
“People didn’t think a nightlife guy would open a plant-based restaurant,” he said, already dreaming of his next move. “I’d eventually love to be in the hotel biz.”
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