Miky Grendene - Soulful Tastemaker
From Aspen to Miami, Miky Grendene is the ultimate tastemaker, creating intimate, delicious experiences. He first opened Casa Tua in Miami Beach, and has now opened Casa Tua Cucina in Miami’s Brickell City Centre. Since 2001, Miky and his wife Leticia have cultivated and brought the luxurious dining experience to life with their love of food, family, and art in an unparalleled way that is not to be missed and is celebrated by all fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to enjoy any of their famed locations.
Dane Kennedy: When did you open your first Casa Tua? What initially drew you into the world of luxury dining?
Miky Grendene: I opened the first Casa Tua on Miami Beach in 2001 as a restaurant, boutique hotel and Miami’s first private members club. At the time, I was in the real estate development business and had no restaurant experience, but I felt there was a need in Miami for an intimate spot to enjoy good food and great company. I have an intense passion for food and love sharing that with everyone - this is something I learned as a little kid in my mother’s kitchen. I have always believed the kitchen has soul, it’s the heart of a home – it’s where families share, cook, eat and laugh together. When I moved to Miami with my wife Leticia 22 years ago, we wanted to build an extension of our own home - and that is how Casa Tua was born. The building itself is a historic Miami Beach house so there’s an inherent level of intimacy built into the space. Paired with authentic Italian food, familiar service and privacy, I was lucky enough to develop a place with soul. It is the soul that keeps people coming back.
You just opened a space at Saks in Miami’s Brickell City Center. Will it follow the lead of your other spaces?
The concept Casa Tua Cucina at Saks Brickell City Centre is different than our other locations, it is a much larger concept- an 18,000-square-foot marketplace designed to feel like a big open kitchen with 10 distinct dining stations. The common denominator is love for what we do, and we symbolize this with a heart on each one of our dishes. Casa Tua is about providing authentic food made of the finest quality ingredients to enjoy together with loved ones. At Casa Tua Cucina we’ve been able to keep the same standard of quality and translate it to a larger audience, allowing more people to share the Casa Tua experience.
Your Aspen space, launched in 2010, is known for its cutting-edge photography exhibitions. Is this your personal, favorite medium of choice? Rumor has it you are quite the photographer as well? Who is your favorite photographer?
I have an extensive fine art photography collection and I’m an amateur photographer myself. I enjoy bringing my passion for photography into our restaurants for our guests to appreciate.I love Irving Penn’s work, I have one of his photographs of Pablo Picasso hanging in my bedroom at home and it’s one of my favorite pieces.
How do you choose your staff?
I look for soul, character and most of all passion. We have a great team who lead with their hearts.
Who do you bring on board as designers and interior decorators and why?
I opened Casa Tua working with Michele Bonan, who is also Italian. I very much align with his classic design vision. I also always love to give opportunities to up and coming designers and I’ve worked with many on recent ventures.
How do you want your spaces to make people feel? Your Home is our home?
The literal translation of Casa Tua is ‘your home.’ Casa Tua is more than just a restaurant or a hotel, it is a total experience of enjoying good, ethically sourced food, fine art, warm service and of course - great company. We want our guests to feel like they are home.
How does your family influence your business and outlook on life? Do you invite them into the fray?
My wife Leticia is my partner in this venture and together we have built Casa Tua. She is my muse. As my kids have gotten older, they have followed in the family footsteps and we couldn’t be prouder.
What would you call your greatest accomplishment to date?
My family, by far - and together our shared accomplishment of the Casa Tua brand.
What’s on your bedside table?
My iPad, a newspaper and a Nest Moroccan Amber candle.
What’s on your playlist?
If you weren’t a restauranteur, what would you be?
I don’t consider myself a restauranteur, I consider myself a creator of beautiful things and can’t imagine doing anything else.
We are currently working to open a Casa Tua restaurant at the new JK Paris. We also plan to expand our membership concept both at home and abroad, stay tuned!