Brunch in Miami is a moment of pleasure for many, and they do know how to enjoy it. The verb “brunchear” is not accepted by the Royal Spanish Academy. But it’s one of those Spanglish so effective that in Miami it’s said as if nothing, with the happiness that causes a hearty breakfast and a little late, especially on weekends.
Jan Karlo Ruiz Ortiz has managed to perfect the verb with Bistro Café, a well-established restaurant in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico. The “brunchear” invitation is one of Puerto Rican businessman’s favorite phrases when he posts photos of dishes on Instagram to tempt customers to order.
Supported by ten years of tradition of his business on the island, Ruiz Ortiz opened in Miami, in December last year, a branch of Bistro Café in the Art Plaza Tower building, behind the Arsh Center. The area, in free growth, had the perfect clientele for the artistic cafés that identify the restaurant, sometimes customized with the name of the person who orders it.
“Miami is a place of great potential. In the area they are making many apartments and it is close to Brickell, downtown and Wynwood,” said Ruiz Ortiz, who grew up watching as his father ran a business, the family bakery in Aguada, on the west coast of the island.
Bistro Café is one of those businesses that has managed to win the pandemic game, despite having opened in Miami three months before it started.
According to the entrepreneur, Bistro Café customers are already asking you to open another one in Kendall.
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So far the hook has been the creativity of the menu, the immense avocados stuffed with meat; shrimp with melted cheese on top; pancakes watered with guava jam; French toast breaded in toasted cereal, served with Nutella or strawberry jam.
“People come, he recommends us, the one who comes repeats and brings us more people,” says Ruiz Ortiz, who creates the dishes and adds almost every day something new for customers to stay wanting to try and come back. Although he acknowledges that he has a head chef where he delegates day-to-day operations.
HOW A RESTAURANT IN PANDEMIC SURVIVES
For a business as young as Bistro Café, confinement could have been total failure. It should be noted that in Florida more than 2,000 restaurants have closed as a result of COVID-19, according to the Florida Restaurant and Accommodation Association.
Among those that were closed are well-known names such as John Martin’s Irish Tavern, which spent 21 years on miracle mile in Coral Gables, and the Cuban restaurant David’s Café, on the side of Lincoln Road in Miami Beach.
Bistro Café, however, has overcome the crisis by Ruiz Ortiz’s business cunning, which remained active in the networks attracting customers with its combination of sweet and savory dishes. During the forty they continued to offer home deliveries and take-out service.
Luck sailed in his favor, too. When Miami-Dade ordered restaurants to close their interior space in early July, Bistro Café was able to continue serving on the terrace.
At the same time, in Puerto Rico they allowed restaurants to operate with half the clientele inside, which meant a respite for the entrepreneur, who also received a federal loan from the Payment Protection Program (PPP), so that businesses could keep paying their employees.
At the same time, now that in Puerto Rico they only allow restaurants to operate at 25 percent of their capacity From Monday to Friday, Miami-Dade allows restaurants to serve indoors from August 31 at half their capacity.
“You have to take advantage of fat and skinny ones,” Ruiz Ortiz said, on the learning he has gained from the crisis.
“One must have a backup or business savings. In situations like this, which is tight, you have to have your reservation, to buy all the needs that the business deserves,” he said, adding that they have been able to support all employees.
“We cover costs and the percentage of losses is minimal. We are in battle, with a lot of work, and we give thanks for that,” said Ortiz, who will continue to tempt with a plate or drink every day.
For now the star is the Spicy Mango Margarita, with margarita handle, mango, jalapeño and tahini.
“We made them frozen for the purpose of people cooling off,” concluded Ruiz Ortiz, who now has the possibility to open inside, but leaves the terrace for those who prefer to eat outdoors.