The first all-natural culinary and nightlife concept in downtown Miami offers a healthier alternative in casual comfort food, courtesy of Chef Christopher Baugh
From the co-founder of Barú and Tu Candela – CRATE Plant-based Kitchen, Bar and Lounge, Miami’s first vegetarian and vegan culinary and nightlife experience, has opened its doors to the newest destination in hospitality and entertainment to arrive in Brickell, brought to life after years in development by restaurateur and designer, Anselmo Di Virgilio Hernandez. Located on South Miami Avenue in Brickell Village, CRATE is the latest addition to the heart of Miami’s downtown bar and business district and is now open for casual walk-ins for lunch and dinner without a reservation. The CRATE menu offering can now be viewed at www.cratemiami.com .
The newly renovated 152-seat restaurant property comprises of indoor and outdoor patio dining areas that span over a spacious 3,700 square feet. Chef Christopher Baugh (of “Sage” in Ubud, Bali) introduces an eclectic menu of vegetarian and vegan plates inspired by the knowledge harnessed from culinary ideologies in wellness and nutrition from around the world and during his time spent creating organically grown signature dishes of his own in Indonesia. As the very first plant-based culinary philosophy brought to Miami’s downtown district, CRATE opens for lunch and dinner, offering a casual dining experience that is simple and affordable, yet comfortably refined. Guests will experience a unique after-hours lounge environment featuring a fully licensed bar set within a retro-contemporary living room designed and developed by the founder. All dishes offered on the menu at CRATE combine the very best in local ingredients sourced from premium South Florida suppliers.
“We are delighted to open Brickell’s very first plant-based kitchen, bar and lounge,” says the founder of CRATE, Anselmo Di Virgilio Hernandez. “The concept upon which CRATE is based reflects the resolution that meets the needs of vegetarians and vegans who, like myself, have been looking for a casual dining option for quite some time. We aim to democratize healthy food that can now be enjoyed in an affordable and comfortable setting. The contemporary menu of international cuisine is inspired by our experiences visiting the most progressive and health-conscious culinary destinations around the world. We look forward to welcoming our guests to a casual daytime and evening lounge environment that will be both warm and entertaining.”
CRATE delivers an eclectic menu of seasonal plates presented to the table in a home cooked style with flavors that may be difficult to distinguish from the original meat-based menus offered elsewhere. Example Starters include Buffalo “Wings” with a side of Ranch ($9.50); Summer Rolls with fresh herbs, Julienned veggies, roasted peanuts and sesame seeds with dipping sauce ($9.50); “Holy Guacamole” with house made chips and Pico de Gallo ($11.50) a selection of fries and Soup of the Day. Salads from the Deli include the “Killer Kale” with organic kale, creamy Tahini dressing, avocado, cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olive, sprouts and hemp hearts ($11) and “Trickin’ Ceasar Salad” with organic greens, basil, croutons, kalamata, cucumber and topped with crispy “chicken” strips ($12.50).
A choice of sumptuous burgers (made with a Mung Bean, organic brown rice and roasted vegetable base), are served with organic fries and a choice of vegan cheese on request. They include the Classic Cheese Burger with mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion and cheese ($10); Mushroom Swiss Burger with caramelized onions, mushrooms and cheese ($12); Hula Burger with grilled pineapple, caramelized onions and Teriyaki sauce ($10) and a Double Bacon Cheeseburger with mayo, double stacked “bacon,” cheese, lettuce and tomato ($16.50).
Sandwiches from the Deli include “BLT-A” with “bacon” lettuce, tomato, mayo and avocado ($11.50); “Comeback Kid” with smoked Tofu steaks, Chipotle mayo, pickles, sprouts, lettuce and “bacon” bits ($10.50); “Hot Mess” with Swiss and Cheddar cheese, pepper jack melted over mushrooms, pickled hot peppers, lettuce, tomato, onion and deli mustard ($11.50); “Farmer” with avocado, sprouts, mayo, cheddar cheese, carrot, lettuce, cucumber, tomato, onion and deli mustard ($9) and “Reuben” with grilled Tempeh, sauerkraut, avocado, cheese and thousand island dressing on Rye bread ($13).
A choice of Tacos and Burritos are served with refried or black beans, Spanish Rice, Pico de Gallo, chopped lettuce and cheese. A choice of fillings include Jackfruit Asada ($13); Crispy “Tricken’ Chicken” ($11); fried avocado ($12); and buffalo “wings” ($12).
Desserts on the menu are freshly made each day by the pastry chef, Sarah Baugh, and include Caramel Apple Cake ($6); Chocolate Chip Cookie (2.50); Gluten Free Carrot Cake ($7); Cookies & Cream Cake ($6); Raspberry Vanilla Cake ($6); Samoa Cake ($6); Mocha Cake ($6) and Coconut Cake ($6). CRATE also offers a number of organic cold pressed signature juices in two different sizes ($8 or $11), as well as a wide array of organic smoothies that can be made to order for the same price options.
Classic cocktails come in a variety of local flavors – including some that are deliciously frozen. Signature libations include the CRATE Vice (frozen Pina Colada, Starwberry Daiquiri and Grenadine); Brickell Vice (Mango Daiquiri and Strawberry Daiqueri); Daisy Maria (Aguardiente Antioqueno and Lemon/Lime Soda) and Good Night Ladies (Gin, Aguardiente Antioqueno and Lemon/Lime Soda).
CRATE transforms in to a contemporary after-hours lounge, emulating a retro-style living room, when the kitchen closes at 11:00 p.m. Vintage and antique chairs are placed against smaller cocktail tables, with comfortable “velvet” couches situated in the center for larger groups or intimate couples to spend the night on. Spot lamps drooping from the ceiling accentuate an ornamental lighting fixture, illuminated by miniature bottles of olive oil, forming a centerpiece above the bar. Spiritualized artwork by an unnamed Miami artist adorns the rear whitewashed brick wall. Loungers are juxtaposed against an oversized LED screen that sprawls across the entire wall to compliment the progressive music and entertainment program that will set a new standard for Miami’s nightlifestyle. An outdoor patio for daytime dining and evening drinks is located directly outside the main entrance, surrounded by large vases of shrubbery and plant life that compliment CRATE’s raison d’etre.
CRATE. Plant-based Kitchen, Bar and Lounge is located at 901 South Miami Avenue, Miami, Florida 33131 and is now open for daily lunch and dinner service from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (Sunday—Wednesday) and 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. (Thursday—Saturday). Happy Hour is between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. offering two for one beers, wines or liquor. For more information, call 786.534.2538 or visit www.CRATEMiami.com and join the conversation through #CRATEMiami and #FeelCrate.