Brickell has always been one of the most progressive neighborhoods in Miami. Our favorite place to call home hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down – from trendy bars, to fancy restaurants, high-end shopping and everything in between. Co-founder of Brickell’s beloved Barú and Tu Candela, Anselmo Hernandez, just opened CRATE Plant-based Kitchen, Bar and Lounge, Miami’s first vegetarian and vegan culinary and nightlife experience. Now that’s something you don’t hear every day – vegan culinary and a club/lounge all in one. #OnlyInBrickell
This concept didn’t come to Anselmo on a whim. It’s been in the development stages for several years. Anselmo spent two years traveling to Copenhagen, Barcelona, Bali, Paris, Madrid, London and Stockholm with the sole purpose of finding a world class vegetarian chef who was able to develop an eclectic menu that would appeal to vegans like himself. He was tired of struggling to find a quality vegetarian restaurant in Miami, so he decided to open his own. While in Bali, a mutual friend introduced Anselmo to Christopher Baugh, a young chef originally from California, living in Ubud, Bali (with his own casual vegetarian restaurant called “Sage” that he still has today) and brought him to Miami as his restaurant partner to create a Asian and Indonesian-inspired casual vegetarian menu that he has created as the Executive Chef.
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 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. 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 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) and Summer Rolls with fresh herbs, Julienned veggies, roasted peanuts and sesame seeds with dipping sauce ($9.50). 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’ Caesar Salad” with organic greens, basil, croutons, kalamata, cucumber and topped with crispy “chicken” strips ($12.50).
A burger menu featuring patties 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 Cheeseburger 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).
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 and organic smoothies.
Classic cocktails come in a variety of local flavors – including some that are deliciously frozen. Signature libations include the CRATE Vice (frozen Pina Colada, Strawberry Daiquiri and Grenadine); Brickell Vice (Mango Daiquiri and Strawberry Daiquiri); Daisy Maria (Aguardiente Antioqueno and Lemon/Lime Soda) and Good Night Ladies (Gin, Aguardiente Antioqueno and Lemon/Lime Soda).
CRATE transforms into 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 night lifestyle. 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.
It’s most definitely something we’ve never seen before and we have a feeling people will love it. Be sure to stop by CRATE Plant-based Kitchen, Bar and Lounge for lunch, dinner, or a late night out.