When Bubbles & Pearls Opens In Wilton Manors This Summer, You Can Pop Bottles And Celebrate Life At The Champagne Raw Bar
When two-time "Top Chef" contestant Josie Smith-Malave's new restaurant opens, she'll be popping bottles.
Not in celebration of the grand opening per se, but simply because that's what will be a daily occurrence at her new champagne raw bar in Wilton Manors.
Bubbles & Pearls, set to open in late August, will offer guests hand-selected wines and champagnes, $1.50 daily catch oysters, and other raw bar items.
A South Florida native who's traveled the world, Smith-Malave recently came upon the opportunity to open her restaurant concept in Wilton Manors. She said she felt especially eager to bring an elevated dining experience to the area she and her friends call home.
"We all live in the neighborhood, so it's kind of the dream to work somewhere close to home," she said. "…I personally want people to feel something different than what we're used to experiencing here on the Drive."
Bubbles & Pearls will serve $1.50 oysters, with a daily catch board of oysters from the East and West coasts, as well as poke bowls, ceviche two ways—classic Peruvian-style, and then playful recipes, like passion fruit and soy—and crudo of the day. (For those unfamiliar with crudo, it's a sliced raw fish dish that, unlike sashimi, comes dressed with oils, acidic sauces and seasonings.)
"Depending on the kind of fish that I get in, we're really going to be creative with it—yuzu, shishito, togarashi Japanese chili peppers, or Peruvian-style with ahi peppers and choclo (corn)," Smith-Malave said.
So is it a seafood house?
"Yes, our focus is seafood, and that's because I love it, and that's what I'm doing," Smith-Malave said, explaining that's been her blunt reply to friends who've downplayed the concept as "just a seafood house."
However, the Bubbles & Pearls menu will also be sure to include a steak dish, plus a few signature vegan items, for those not as fond of seafood.
"I want [customers] to feel comfortable, to be adventurous, to be able to trust that they're going to have a special experience when they come in but that feels like home," Smith-Malave said. "I just happen to be a Top Chef, but that's besides the point."
And let's not forget about that bubbly.
At Bubbles & Pearls, high-end champagne and sparkling wines will be available by the glass, going for about $7 to $32. There will also be several white wines, rosés and a few reds.
"There's all kinds of crazy champagnes out there that, by the bottle, they're super expensive," said Smith-Malave, who suggested that ordering them by the glass would make them more approachable.
Smith-Malave insists she won't even be taking reservations because she wants to keep the restaurant accessible—not a place where customers have to wait weeks to get on a list.
"We're not trying to be a bougie place; we're trying to be cool and fun," she said.
After all, at the end of the day, it's all about celebration.
"You don't pop bottles just to pop bottles—you pop bottles to celebrate," she said. "We're celebrating life through all things delicious and decadent."
For updates on the opening, follow Bubbles & Pearls' Facebook page here.
Bubbles & Pearls; 2037 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors