Kicking the new year off right, Top Chef alums Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth opened up the third location of their popular NYC outpost, Root & Bone in South Miami on December 29th. The team behind the Sunset Harbor favorite, Stiltsville, is sprinkling ur city with some of the most down-to-earth Southern Comfort food we know. Flooded with light and featuring a larger bar than its predecessors, the SoMi branch is reigniting the need for more welcoming watering holes in the neighborhood and we’re excited.

Root & Bone first came to life as a pop-up at The Shelborne Hotel on Miami Beach and it’s staying alive today. The charming and rustic hotel lobby restaurant carries the shared family atmosphere on with things like supper Sundays, a bucket of bird, and tons of affordable plates. Local ingredients are the name of the game here, connecting eaters to their roots and laying the foundation of the menu’s most comforting foods. What we love about the Miami Beach outpost is that it makes the idea of entering a hotel less intimidating and more inviting; whether you’re a tourist or not, everyone has a seat at the table.

Fresh-picked garden bouquets sit quaintly on burlap runners aside dark leather couches and mismatched vintage plates. Hotel guests might think they have a simple to-go option in their lobby, but will find a pleasant surprise in the caliber of Root & Bone’s menu, service, and alluring smells wafting from the kitchen. At both locations, classic rock and smooth blues on the high-fi drive mix with friendly staff for a perfect reminder of what Southern Hospitality should feel like.

While Stiltsville is an ode to all things sea and sand, Root & Bone is an homage to grass and ground. Starting with their cocktail program, drinks like The Violet Hour and their Prohibition Tea are very floral and fruit-forward, bringing earthy notes to even the most demure of sips. Starting with the Deviled Eggs and Chicken Biscuits was the best thing we could do, both equally eye-opening and delicious. Classics like Fried Green Tomatoes, Shrimp and Grits, and summer arugula salad are not surprising on their “honest southern food” menu, but the mofongo topped with skirt steak was a welcome plot twist and also one of the best things we had all night.

Of course, the show-stopper: their Fried Chicken and Waffles, served elegantly in baskets and paired with bourbon maple syrup and honey sriracha. Top it off with the Drunken Strawberry Shortcake and the Chocolate Bread Pudding and you’ll be happy y came as a big group. Although the Miami Beach location starts at 5:30pm daily, their South Miami spot is open from 5pm on weekdays and 10am on weekends for more feasting options.

Photos by FujiFilmGirl.