After more than a year on hiatus, Jaguar Sun, a favorite spot for cocktails and pasta in downtown Miami, is set to reopen.
Owners Carey Hynes and Will Thompson closed their small restaurant in the lobby of X Miami amid the pandemic. Determined not to lay off their staff, they launched a pop-up concept this past August, Sunny’s Someday Steakhouse, which transformed the Lot 6 space in Little River into an old-school steakhouse on weekends.
Though the pop-up was a decided departure from Jaguar Sun, Sunny’s was an instant hit with Miamians, who turned out in droves to sip martinis and devour New York strips and shrimp cocktails.
All along, Hynes and Thompson longed to return to the familiar space — and air-conditioned comfort — of Jaguar Sun. But they also wanted to protect themselves, their staff, and their customers. Now, 15 months after closing, Jaguar Sun is set for a comeback.
“When people started reopening, we didn’t feel comfortable, and we wanted to give our staff time to get vaccinated,” Hynes explains, adding that when Jaguar Sun reopens at the end of June, it will be outfitted with an outdoor space that can seat 20 to 30.
The food and beverage menus will receive an upgrade, as well. The selection of pasta dishes will expand and will be joined by raw bar offerings and a seasonal crudo. (The Parker House rolls will be available.)
Hynes says the menu will remain limited by the size of Jaguar Sun’s kitchen, which is equipped with only four induction burners.
Still, he learned a valuable lesson from the pop-up that he plans to take with him. “People really wanted to have an experience. They wanted a night out. We’re going to give people that same feel, but with different food,” he says.
Carey sees the new menu as more of an evolution of Jaguar Sun than a radical change. “This is a process of becoming more of ourselves. At Jaguar, we had three or four pastas and we’re looking at doing six or seven. We also had just one oyster and one mignonette at Jaguar, but took a lot of care in shucking them. Now, we’ll have more of a variety of oysters and more mignonettes.”
The goal, says Carey, is to expand the menu enough to maintain the quality and consistency of the items. “It’s hitting on what we can do well. Will and I are problem-solvers.”
Thompson hopes the expanded menu will please Jaguar Sun regulars. “I don’t know if we could have stayed with those same pastas forever. I think it’s important that when you see the same faces, you have to offer variety.”
He’ll also add some variety to the cocktail menu — again without going overboard.
He says Jaguar will showcase a dozen or so cocktails (including old favorites like the “Jailbreak” — a combo of bourbon, Japanese whisky, and Haitian rum, finished with a dash of coffee), broken down into aperitifs, classics, and exotics. That last category will be “over the top and tropical,” Thompson promises, adding, “We’re not going to suddenly offer 40 cocktails. To an extent, less is more.”
Despite the restaurant’s diminutive footprint, Thompson stresses that quality across the board is key. “You can’t just do great cocktails and phone in dinner, or vice versa,” he says. “Ambiance is also important. Now, more than ever, it’s more difficult to dine out at a restaurant. Whatever gets you in that Uber over to Jaguar Sun is what we’ll do.”
Adds Hynes: “When Jaguar Sun opens, we want to be as close to perfect as we can.”
Devotees of Sunny’s Someday Steakhouse have until June 11 to enjoy the outdoor pop-up. After that, it will go into “hibernation,” according to Hynes.
While the Jaguar Sun partners are looking forward to reopening the local favorite, they’ll miss their time at Lot 6.
“We washed every dish by hand for six months,” Thompson reminisces. “The staff were safe, we had a lot of fun, and now we’re looking toward the future.”
Jaguar Sun. 230 NE Fourth St., Miami; 786-860-2422; jaguarsunmia.com. Opens in late June 2021.
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