Complete with a drive-thru, the fast-casual dining chain launches its flagship store
Natural Chicken Grill has made its mark as one of Miami’s most celebrated, homegrown, fast-casual success stories. Now, with several locations throughout South Florida, the concept is laying the groundwork for further expansion with the opening of its newest and largest location in South Miami. In an effort to set themselves apart from other chicken chop joints, CEO Alexis Acosta has launched drive-thru service at the recently opened location at 6800 SW 57th Avenue, near Sunset Place. Acosta, who owns and operates three locations of the burgeoning chain believes he has the recipe for success.
Tucked away in the Miller Square shopping center, the first Natural Chicken Grill opened its doors in 2003, serving the West Kendall community. In 2015, Acosta acquired the brand and has strategically grown the eatery into one of the most health-conscious, flavorful and affordable dining concepts around town. Under the company’s revitalized banner, Natural Chicken Grill has garnered measurable success as they strive to uphold their motto, “Always Fresh”. Renowned as the originators of the Chop, Natural Chicken Grill continues to grow adding the South Miami location as their flagship store. Also debuting is the restaurant’s rebranding initiative including reimagined dining room interiors, a streamlined logo, new menu additions and the addition of a classic drive-thru for on-the-go customers. The three locations humming along in greater Miami are — Kendall, Edgewater, and now South Miami.
The restaurant bills itself as a wholesome, fast-casual establishment where chicken breasts are never frozen, free of hormones and antibiotics and seasoned with traditional Latin spices. Inspired by a family recipe, the chicken is immersed in a secret marinade for three to four days before it’s grilled to perfection. Natural Chicken Grill’s signature Chop is comprised of, in most cases, a bowl of homemade yellow rice seasoned in an authentic, sofrito then cooked in a proper caldero; brown rice, white rice or quinoa, chopped chicken breast and a variety of toppings from abuela-style, house soaked black beans to diced veggies and shredded cheese. Churrasco, the newest and juiciest addition to the menu has proven to be a popular alternative to the restaurant’s signature grilled chicken. Customers can expect a 9-10 oz. of grilled skirt steak marinated in a secret concoction of herbs and spices that can be ordered sliced atop one of the restaurant’s signature chops or salads, or served by itself with any choice of side. The restaurant also offers vegetarian and vegan options, pita wraps, fresh soups, bone-in grilled chicken platters and a variety of family packs.
Portion sizes are generous, especially for the small bowls that go for about $8 for chicken and $15+ for steak — with a drink included, checks average between $10 to $17. “A lot of people I find are unable to finish the small,” Acosta says. The portions combined with the price and wholesome options appeal to families on-the-go, time crunched students and the local workforce who crave a homecooked meal but may not have the time to cook for themselves.
Top of FormBottom of FormAcostaAAaAfter acquiring the brand, Acosta found himself with full creative control in the customization of the longtime existing chain’s operations and menu items for all three of his locations. Over the years, Acosta, along with his mother and grandfather, have worked in tandem to compile a list of family recipes and marinades that have helped him craft the restaurant’s menu. Every item is soulfully prepared with an authentically Latin flair using ethically sourced ingredients, including the restaurant’s signature sauces – fan favorites being the spicy, garlic fire and curry mustard. Customers can rest assured that any Natural Chicken Grill is free of vacuum-sealed vats of sour cream, dehydrated produce or freezer-burned chicken parts.
Beyond the menu, Acosta wanted to give the dining room a refreshed, contemporary look to match his customer base. For the interior, he teamed up with none other than the renowned, Miami-based design firm, Saladino, to revamp the space. Apart from Natural Chicken Grill, some of the firm’s notable work includes: Funky Buddha Brewery, SuViche, and The Confidante. Saladino’s design will be used as a template for future Natural Chicken Grill outposts.
The restaurant has a modern, industrial aesthetic; light-washed wood paneling stretches across the interior walls as well as the building’s exterior. Bright red accents are blended in with stainless steel and wood furnishings. The vaulted ceiling provides a contemporary look which gives way to an industrial treatment in the dining area. Adorned in locally-sourced art, the walls pay homage to the Magic City. Think photographs of Wynwood architecture with transposed images of chickens. The seating has a mix of booths and chairs for single customers, lending a community dining feel that also reduces the need to move tables around for large parties.
Natural Chicken Grill is located at 6800 SW 57th Avenue in South Miami and is open for lunch and dinner daily, Monday-Thursday from 11AM-10PM; Friday and Saturday from 11AM-11PM; and Sunday from 11AM-9PM. Self-parking is available and drive-thru service offered nightly. Natural Chicken Grill in South Miami can soon be ordered online via Ubereats, Postmates, Grubhub and DoorDash.
Natural Chicken Grill
Information provided by Brustman Carrino Public Relations