LoKal, pronounced [lo-ka’l], debuts in Coconut Grove in mid-November 2011. Stemming from the German word for restaurant and meeting place, LoKal will live up to its definition of being a meeting place but will exceed all of its guests’ expectations by bringing sustainably and locally sourced ingredients paired with an industrial, raw edginess. Particularly suited to the Grove’s personality and bohemian reputation, Grovites will now have a place where they can satiate their comfort food cravings as well as their ideological inclinations.
Owner Matthew Kuscher’s commitment to quality is unmatched as he will be tapping Floridian farmers, dairies and brewers in order to highlight the bounty of products, goods and ingredients available in the Sunshine State. In plain English, LoKal Burger bar will be as local as local gets.
Using Florida grass-fed beef and Floridian-raised clean proteins for their burgers, sandwiches and salads, LoKal will be purchasing whole sides of beef, and primal cuts of clean proteins and processing them in-house. Hand grinding their meats daily and pressing each and every patty will result in LoKal’s distinctive signature flavor. Whether made of grass-fed beef, free range chicken or local fish, one thing is for sure, LoKal’s entire menu signals an unparalleled approach to quality and integrity, especially in a neighborhood that is better known for major restaurant chains and tourist traps.
Even though LoKal’s ingredients have been carefully sourced, Kuscher, aka. “Kush,” does not hesitate to inflect his personality, culture and love for Americana into the menu. LoKal’s menu features a unique combination of diner classics amped up with smatterings of his Puerto Rican heritage and love for his local, Miamian community. Signature items include a tribute to his Puerto Rican “mamá,”, and a Kush fave, the “Frita” featuring a pressed burger schmeared with guava jelly, melted gruyere and chopped French fries. The “50/50” blends half Florida beef and half Florida bacon, ground and blended, perfectly grilled with a slightly charred exterior, bacon, tomatoes and chopped sweet onion. For those interested in something completely indulgent, borderline sinful, the “Crispy Crème” sandwiches a beef patty and smoky bacon between two slices of toasty, Crispy Crème glazed donuts – a concoction Kush created out of boredom as a young boy working at his father’s Dunkin’ Donuts shop.
Local mahi, rock shrimp, salads and veggies round out the decadent, bovine laced menu. “Heirloom Tomato Salad with Maytag Blue,” “Homestead Guac,” “Lokal Salad” and “Grilled LoKal Veggies” make for lighter, healthier fare and provide a heaping dose of farm-to-table creed via the Redlands and some of its more notable characters like Paradise Farms’s Gabrielle Mariewski and Bee Heaven Farm’s Margie Pikarsky. Lightly battered “Key West Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos” served on corn tortillas with cilantro, chopped onion and homemade LoKal dressing is clean and refreshing, while the “Grilled Mahi Sandwich” makes for heartier maritime fare.
Homemade desserts include local favorite “LoKal Key Lime Pie,” “Mama’s Tres Leches” and an ode to American childhood pleasures, “Fried Twinkies and Oreos” are served with a cold glass of milk.
Aside from being sustainable, LoKal will be entirely green. Short of LEED certification, Kuscher and his team will be a driving home the 3 R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle. Behind the scenes, the team will be recycling all goods, composting left over scraps and food remnants, recycling oil and employing an in-house water filtration system. A myriad of products used will also come from recycled goods and reclaimed materials such as menus, to-go containers, furniture made from reclaimed materials and art made by local artist, Camilo Rojas, from recycled materials.
Owner Matthew Kuscher, a Houston’s (Hillstone) veteran and third generation restaurateur, brings his expertise from one of the industry leaders into a hip, urban setting. His philosophy is simple, “Give guests the freshest and best quality ingredients in a comfortable, cool, clean environment; and of course make them leave happier then when they arrived.”
LoKal hopes to breathe new energy and vitality into the Grove. Kush and his wife bring a youthful spirit and enthusiasm to their new venture. Despite being barely thirty years old, Kush himself is an “old soul” and third generation restaurateur with over fifteen years of Hillstone Restaurant Group and Levy Restaurant Group under his belt as well as a life time with his father. He recently departed the Hillstone Group after successfully orchestrating the operations at their Coral Gables location for the last six years. Kuscher has also written and self-published a book named, “The Life of a Restaurant Manager.”
Kush’s wife, Priscilla, studied nutrition and dietetics at FIU and is a big believer in the old adage, “You are what you eat.” Eager to show Miami that eating well and living well can happen symbiotically, Priscilla will serve as head “quality checker” and will also assist Kush in every aspect of the restaurant. She looks forward to welcoming every guest into LoKal just as she would if it were her home.
Civically minded, Kush and Priscilla are active participants of the Miami Children’s Hospital and have participated in their 5k race in the past. They plan on continuing their involvement by hosting and contributing to fundraisers, donating food and sponsoring future 5k races and other athletic events. Both Kush and Priscilla strive to bring the community a casual, unpretentious locale where guests can feel good about what they eat, where it comes from and how it affects the community – ie. pub grub with a conscience. “My wife and I want to show Miami that as long as you eat local, clean proteins you can eat burgers and other great tasting food and still stay healthy.”
A retails section will be made available to guests and passer-bys. LoKal will offer numerous Florida products such as jams, jellies, honey, sea salt and other such items made by local artisans for sale along with any other eco-friendly products they support, stylish t-shirts, wines and even his book – “The Life of a Restaurant Manager.”
LoKal Burger Bar will be located at 3190 Commodore Plaza in the heart of Coconut Grove, Fl 33133. Scheduled to open in mid-November, LoKal will be serving locals day and night, six days a week, Tuesday and Wednesday from noon to 10:00pm, Thursday through Saturday from noon to 2:00am and Sundays from noon to 10:00pm; LoKal will be closed on Mondays. For questions or inquiries, please contact Aniece Meinhold directly at [email protected] or 305.494.0609.