Flashback to 2016, and I, and all Miamians, were both surprised and excited to hear that nightlife impresario David Grutman – the man behind the likes of LIV, STORY and most recently, Komodo – was teaming up with Miami Design District’s Craig Robins and New York City's The Smile Cafe to open a casual café #atMDD. Fast-forward to January 2017, and it’s hard to tell if the line out its door will ever stop. OTL, which goes by the slogan “Everyone Welcome,” is a two-story space that’s part neighborhood hangout, part coffee shop and part creative space. But above all, it’s a laidback food spot with a small menu of well-made breakfast items, sandwiches, salads, toasts and pastries that have been calling me back since the day I tried it myself. And that was nearly a week ago.
When I first walked into OTL, the first thing I noticed (besides the aforementioned long line) was its vibe. With its floor-to-ceiling windows, stark-white walls and, because we’re in the Design District, a few poignant art pieces, this casual spot is nothing if not welcoming. On the back wall, you’ll spot a flight of stairs leading up to the second floor: a future “community and wellness area” and art gallery where locals will be able to take yoga classes and peruse the goods at designer pop-ups. Downstairs, you’ll see a mix of high-top tables, bistros and booths filled with people chatting, doing work on their laptop, grabbing a cup of coffee, or taking a break from shopping to put down their bags and get a bite to eat.
(Left: cheddar and onion marmalade sandwich; Right: avocado toast)
And speaking of the food, because everything looked good, we ordered a spread. The Avocado Toast on Zak the Baker bread came with a delicious kick (no doubt the red pepper), and we complemented it with OTL’s Kale and Red Cabbage salads, both of which were perfectly light, but filling. After washing all of that down with homemade lemonade, we ordered the Chicken Salad sandwich, which is curried, stuffed between two slices of Zak the Baker bread and served with plantain chips. That was followed by a Grilled Cheese, which was much more impressive than any version of the classic sandwich that I grew up eating. In lieu of white bread and American cheese, this one comes on Zak the Baker bread, is oozing with cheddar and layered with onion marmalade. And while I’d go back and order any of those again, my personal favorite was the Super Seed Butter Toast. Healthy and tasty, it takes toasted brioche and tops it with peanut butter-like super seed butter and fresh blueberries.
(Left: coffee; Right: super seed toast)
With his first casual eatery, Grutman has nailed it; and everyone who’s everyone knows it. Go there for breakfast, lunch, a snack, or one day soon, happy hour, and look around; throngs of locals aside, you might even spot him (or one of his A-list friends!) enjoying a Super Seed Butter Toast of their own. After all… this is Miami we’re talking about.
OTL Miami is located at 160 NE 40th Street, Miami, FL 33137. It’s open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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