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Friday, February 23, 2024

50 Years of Rusty Pelican: Miami’s Oasis for Particular Moments and Celebrations


In a metropolis the place “it” spots have modified as typically as a South Florida climate forecast, Rusty Pelican stays the heaviest of hitters. A lot in order that the Rickenbacker Marina waterfront restaurant, lounge, and lushly-landscaped occasion scorching spot celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this month.

“All people is an area to us right here,” mentioned Derrick Badenhorst, managing director of the property and worker for four-plus years. “We now have the oldsters that are available and inform us they’re married and got here right here on their first date. We have seen our share of mayors right here. And, we now have a man that comes down the street Friday for a drink and cycles again dwelling. By way of weekly rituals and occasions, we now have our regulars for positive.”

Rusty Pelican first opened its doorways in 1972 beneath the possession of David Tallichet with a Polynesian vibe and delicacies in addition to a panoramic patio overlooking the Metropolis of Miami. “From the start,” says Badenhorst, “we have had the most effective areas within the nation… Key Biscayne, Brickell, and the town skyline are all seen proper right here.”

The unique menu featured favorites like a teriyaki-glazed sirloin steak, Hen Kona Kai (grilled hen served in a pineapple with candy and bitter sauce), and Cherries Jubilee (simmered cherries, vanilla ice cream, and Chantilly liquor). Past its views and fare, Rusty Pelican gained much more notoriety after being featured within the 1980 blockbuster Caddyshack, starring Invoice Murray and Chevy Chase.

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The doorway of Rusty Pelican circa 1980

Photograph courtesy of Rusty Pelican

In 1984, the tides shifted for the more severe. A fireplace, sparked by defective wiring, led to the constructing completely burning to the bottom. The rebuild took almost three years, and in July of 1987, Rusty Pelican reopened, this time with a second-floor occasion house that has change into a quintessential Miami gathering spot.

On occasions, Badenhorst says the vibe at Rusty Pelican stays, “we will make something potential on this restaurant.” He provides, “Our mentality may be very a lot that that is our dwelling, and we’re welcoming folks to our place for an expertise they can not get wherever else.”

In 2011, the restaurant underwent a $7 million renovation, solidifying its present modern-meets-chic vibe and dynamic occasion areas. Amongst them — and past its wine wall entry — are the devoted eating room with seating for 200-plus, the lounge/bar that may accommodate 100, and the second-floor occasion house and convertible ballroom with a 500-guest capability.

“On a weekly foundation, we’re now doing 15 to twenty occasions on the property,” says Badenhorst. As for a few of the standout occasions in latest occasions, he says internet hosting Miami Worldwide Boat Present festivities was fairly an operation, in addition to an $80,000 fairyland-themed quinceañera.

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Vistas like few others await on the property’s terrace.

Photograph courtesy of Rusty Pelican

Among the many workers’s favourite occasion moments have been the extra intimate requests, like semi-impromptu proposals from the vista terrace and a latest 101-year-old’s birthday gathering.

5 a long time in, and with David Tallichet’s son, John, operating the present, a number of chef-concocted dishes have change into faves. These embody the chilled seasonal oysters, Chilean sea bass with a smoked candy plantain mash, brief rib empanadas, and seemingly any seafood recognized to man that is typically offered in a show-like vogue. And let’s not overlook the booze, which incorporates traditional martinis and handcrafted cocktails with flowers on high and/or a smoky presentation.

Amid the staples and an anniversary value celebrating (ahem, the Metropolis of Miami simply proclaimed August twenty sixth as Rusty Pelican Day), this spot is not resting on its laurels.

“It is all about innovation,” says Badenhorst. “This property is all the time evolving to create a brand new and even higher expertise.”

Rusty Pelican. 3201 Rickenbacker Cswy., Key Biscayne; 305-361-3818; therustypelican.com. Open for lunch Monday by Friday midday to 4 p.m.; dinner Sunday by Thursday 5 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 5 to 11 p.m.; and brunch Saturday 11 a.m. to five p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to five p.m.



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