When we heard the fifth episode of Bravo’s “Best New Restaurant” would feature a “Battle of the Burger,” our taste buds tingled in anticipation of the juicy deliciousness we’d see. Excitement at Rewards Network amplified tenfold, though, when it was revealed that one of the burger battle contenders would be program restaurant Tongue & Cheek!
Known for playfully delectable dishes, Tongue & Cheek’s chef and owner Jamie DeRosa offers Miami diners a sophisticated experience with a touch of pizzazz. T&C’s menu features a variety of inventive bites and hearty entrees like the Beef Cheek Burger with cheddar pimento cheese, which is is sure to star on “Best New Restaurant.”
To learn how the Tongue & Cheek team prepared for the TV competition and their plans for future culinary greatness, DeRosa gave us the scoop on his “Best New Restaurant” experience and the restaurant’s secrets to success.
Finish this statement: “Tongue & Cheek is the ‘Best New Restaurant’ because…”
Jamie DeRosa: … of our team’s amazing commitment and work ethic so we can offer our guests the best.
What do you think has been Tongue & Cheek’s secret to success as a new restaurant?
JD: We stay true to who we are and what we do at Tongue & Cheek. We’ve always aimed to offer food with integrity, thoughtful presentation, and a little bit of whimsy, and I believe we’ve been successful in meeting this goal. Our staff is also incredibly focused and motivated to work hard, be creative, and continue to grow each day.
What was your reaction when you found out Tongue & Cheek had been selected to compete on “Best New Restaurant”?
JD: We were thrilled. It was with great appreciation and honor to be part of Tom [Colicchio]’s new show. As a chef himself, we trusted that Tom and [Bravo] would present the show with a focus on our talent and craft rather than a scripted reality version of what we do.
How much time did you have to prepare before the competition and what did the restaurant do to prepare?
JD: We actually felt very prepared on a skill level — we just became more tuned-in to the idea of being in a competition. You’ll notice [on the show], we maintained our current menus and forged ahead as we do each night during service. At the end of the day, we simply wanted to showcase what we do every day and be proud of our product and service.
What advice would you offer to other restaurants on providing the best overall dining experience to their customers?
JD: Train hard, work hard, and pay attention to all the details that affect the overall guest experience. It is important to push boundaries creatively with food and beverage programs to offer something new yet familiar and desirable for the guest.
What have you learned from the experience competing on “Best New Restaurant”?
JD: The show reinforced both the strong confidence I have in my team to deliver a quality product, as well as our passion to create a memorable dining experience for our guests.
Do you have any future plans as a result of being on the show?
JD: Conceptualized prior to the show but becoming actualized this February, we are in the process of opening a new restaurant next to Tongue & Cheek called Izzy’s Fish & Oyster. The restaurant was inspired by memories of growing up on the shores of Narragansett, Cape Cod, and the Islands, and summers filled with sunny days, balmy nights, sandy toes, and bellies filled with the freshest seafood coastal New England has to offer. We hope to evoke this same experience within our vibrant and growing South of Fifth neighborhood.
All of us at Rewards Network wish DeRosa and his Tongue & Cheek team the best of luck, both on tonight’s episode of “Best New Restaurant” and with their future plans. If Tongue & Cheek is any indication, we predict Izzy’s Fish & Oyster will follow the path to success.
Tune in to Bravo tonight at 10/9 p.m. CST to see Tongue & Cheek compete in the “Best New Restaurant” burger battle!
Did you miss our interview with “Best New Restaurant” contestants R House? Check out their thoughts on the competition now!