By Jennifer Agress
Photography by Marcello Cassano
Walk into Casa Tua Cucina, newly opened inside Saks Fifth Avenue at shopping destination Brickell City Centre in Miami, and look around. Clearly, it’s not your average restaurant. The brainchild of Miky Grendene, a local power player and founder of the exclusive Casa Tua Restaurant, Private Club & Hotel in South Beach and Aspen, this massive venue features a 300-seat Italian-Mediterranean restaurant, 30-seat wine and cocktail bar, market selling accessories for home and kitchen, and a flower shop. But the main attraction is a food hall with 10 dining stations offering Italian coffees, breads, pastries, charcuterie, cheeses, meats, fish, pizza and pastas. Casa Tua Cucina (Italian for “your home kitchen”) reflects Grendene’s passion for entertaining. So pull up a chair. Grendene’s kitchen is your kitchen.
It’s been 15 years since you first opened Casa Tua on South Beach. Did you ever imagine it would become the hot spot it is today?
Absolutely not! It was my first restaurant and I did not have much food and beverage experience. In a way, I think my inexperience in the industry helped me to create a restaurant, hotel and club that doesn’t feel like one in the traditional sense—a place that feels like home.
You helped create the first A-list-only place for luxurious dining, imbibing, hanging out, attending chic events and socializing. How did you come up with this idea?
That depends on what you mean by “A-list.” For me, that means the right mix of art, culture, wealth, but most importantly, fun. There are no particular rules. We’re just trying to create a natural selection of people who find themselves together, in harmony. That’s what’s special! On top of that, I am a host by nature. I’ve always loved having a home filled with friends laughing and eating together. I wanted Casa Tua to be an extension of this. The building itself is a historic Miami Beach house, so there’s an inherent level of intimacy built into the space. Paired with good food, familiar service and privacy, I was lucky enough to develop a place with soul. It is the soul that keeps people coming back.
What prompted you to open a second location in Aspen?
It was a personal choice. Much like with Casa Tua Miami, I took a chance and followed my heart. I love to ski and I wanted my kids to grow up in the mountains. It was all about the lifestyle, and it’s very special to be able to go from the sea to the mountains and have a familiar “home away from home” in both places.
Now you’ve created Casa Tua Cucina, a high-end, Italian-inspired gourmet food hall in Saks Fifth Avenue. Can you describe the concept?
Casa Tua is a home and Casa Tua Cucina is the heart of the home—the kitchen. It is the center of my own home, and now I want to provide my Casa Tua family with a place where they can laugh, cook, share and learn together.
How long was Casa Tua Cucina in development?
I started working on the concept seven years ago. I was waiting for the right location, and when Saks called, I knew it was the right time, at the right place, with the right partner. We share the same philosophy. Saks takes a curated approach to fashion, and we take a curated approach to food and lifestyle. Together we are forging the concept of “new luxury.”
Why did you to go from the ultra-exclusivity of Casa Tua to the more accessible nature of Casa Tua Cucina?
I believe sharing good, ethically-sourced food is one of the highest expressions of love. At Casa Tua, we create authentic food using the highest-quality ingredients, meant to be enjoyed around friends and loved ones. Through Casa Tua Cucina, we are able to share that experience with a larger audience, while maintaining the same standard of quality in the ingredients we use and the service we provide. I want to help redefine the way we eat and experience food, and Casa Tua Cucina allows me to do that on a larger scale.
What does Casa Tua Cucina mean to you?
For me, it’s all about passion and love. I want to provide a forum for artisans and small producers who pour their heart and soul into their craft. I want to break down the barrier between the people who produce and prepare your food, and those who enjoy it. I want to redefine the food and beverage experience. This concept is just the start!
What part of Casa Tua Cucina are you most excited about?
Our soul. We go by the motto “we put our heart first,” and I am so proud that we have been able to drive that message. From our passionate staff to our unique products and plates, we lead with love.
What’s next for the Casa Tua brand?
Not only do I intend to expand Casa Tua Cucina with Saks, but I am also working on creating a global club at some of the most beautiful properties around the world. These will all have a shared philosophy of passion, love and sustainability. I want to redefine the concept of “barefoot luxury.” casatuacucina.com