April 27, 2011

Rusty Pelican Restaurant To Undergo Major Makeover

Iconic Miami restaurant to close for renovations from July to November 2011

John Tallichet, president and CEO of Specialty Restaurants Corporation (SRC), owners and operators of The Rusty Pelican, a Miami landmark dining destination for close to 40 years, announced today that the restaurant will close temporarily on Tuesday, July 5 for a major redesign; projected to take three to four months. With a planned investment of more than $6 million, SRC is embarking on a significant upgrade to the entire property; which is renowned for its spectacular views in one of Miami’s few waterfront dining locations.

With nothing less than a total modernization of the property planned, physical changes in store as part of the overall reconstruction include expansion and transformation of the rustic patio area and the interior bar into a chic indoor/outdoor lounge. Elements slated for this trendy new gathering spot include fashionable furnishings like stylish low slung couches; and a VIP room perfect for private dining and bottle service. The restaurant’s main dining room will be reconfigured for a more intimate experience; while the ballrooms will be updated and include the addition of bridal rooms. Nationally renowned California-based hospitality design firm, Hatch Design Group is overseeing the redesign.

Hand- in- hand with the structural changes to the restaurant will be conceptual changes to its culinary program. Updated, innovative menus will showcase fresh seafood, and focus on clean, contemporary flavors, with selections perfect for sharing. The revamped beverage program will embrace cocktail culture, with a slate of creative signature cocktails, as well as a comprehensive selection of wines and beers.

According to Tallichet, “When my father first saw the area where the restaurant now stands, he realized the incredible potential and built The Rusty Pelican on the site, opening it in 1972 . It’s been in the family ever since. Its magnificent waterfront location has established it as a top tourist destination and special occasion dining favorite for close to four decades. Now, with the support of the Key Biscayne community as part of the Virginia Key Master Plan, we are excited to make some major changes to The Rusty Pelican that will help broaden its appeal among a new generation of diners; while remaining an iconic part of Miami’s culinary evolution.”

The Rusty Pelican

During the temporary closure, an onsite sales office will remain open to continue to field calls for special events and parties for November 2011 and beyond. Sensitive to the needs of the restaurant’s more than 100 employees, many who have been with the organization for more than a decade, SRC will host an onsite job fair in June to help assist them in finding new employment; as well as transfer some staff to other restaurants in the SRC portfolio. General manager Peter Knezevic, who has been with the organization for close to twenty years, will manage the onsite transformation and transition.

SRC, founded in 1958 by World War II veteran, David Tallichet, has been an industry leader for more than fifty years with a portfolio of 22 award-winning restaurants throughout the United States, including distinguished brands like Orange Hill in Orange County, California, the Castaway in Burbank and countless others. Other Florida locations include Miami’s 94th Aero Squadron and two Tampa restaurants, The Rusty Pelican Tampa, and Whiskey Joe’s Bar and Grill. All of SRC’s restaurants are in beautifully appointed locations that offer breathtaking panoramic views of city skylines, waterfronts or airports. Renowned for their extensive special events capabilities, SRC restaurants are well suited for a variety of events, from an intimate casual dinner for two to a corporate retreat or an elegant dream wedding. For more information, visit

The Rusty Pelican is located at 3201 Rickenbacker Causeway in Key Biscayne, Florida. The restaurant will remain open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch and special events, through Monday, July 4; at which time it will temporarily close for renovations. For reservations or to book an event, please call 305-361-3818.

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