Why Pastis Opening in Miami Is Such a Big Deal

Wynwood gets its own version of the iconic NYC-born bistro.

Yet another New York City transplant is opening in Miami, but this one in particular stands out. Pastis is coming to us from famed restaurateurs Keith McNally and Stephen Starr, and its New York City original has popped up in movies, TV shows, and celebrity sighting rags since it opened in 1999. And now, lucky us—it’s coming to Wynwood. Read on to see why Pastis has so many people talking, and why you, too, should be excited it’s coming here soon.

What is Pastis and why is everyone so excited?

Pastis is a French bistro-style restaurant that opened in New York’s Meatpacking district back in 1999. Almost immediately, it became a place to see and be seen, hosting everything from Sarah Jessica Parker’s baby shower to Liv Tyler’s wedding. Like restaurateur Keith McNally’s many other restaurants, it leaned heavily on French bistro fare like steak frites and seafood tours.

Pastis became famous among Gen-Xers and early millennials when it was featured during the final season of Sex and the City, when Carrie has a date interrupted by a woman lamenting, “Ten thousand restaurants in New York, and everyone’s at Pastis.” The word “iconic” gets thrown around almost as carelessly as “irregardless,” but in the case of Pastis, it’s actually true.

In 2014 it closed down to make room for a Restoration Hardware. But five years later, Pastis was reborn, this time with the assistance of famed restaurateur Stephen Starr.

Who is this Stephen Starr person?

Stephen Starr is a restaurateur who a lot of people credit with creating the modern dining scene in Philadelphia. Among his most notable is Parc, a French cafe which looks a lot like Le Zoo in Bal Harbour. That’s because Le Zoo is, also, a Stephen Starr restaurant, and it was, in fact, modeled after Parc. Starr is similarly behind El Vez and Steak 954 in Lauderdale Beach, as well as sushi stalwart Makoto. And formerly helmed Verde at the Perez art Museum and the now-defunct Continental in South Beach. 

His success in the French bistro realm may well be why original Pastis owner Keith McNally tapped him for Pastis’s 2019 comeback, and why he’s also leading the team bringing the restaurant to South Florida.

What’s on the menu?

Classic French bistro fare—think tuna tartare, niçoise salads, steak sandwiches, steak frites, and croque monsieur and madame sandwiches. Part of what made Pastis so alluring was that it was an un-fancy restaurant full of fancy people. So, theoretically, you or I could afford a table right next to Bono. If Bono didn’t buy up the five tables around him to make sure nobody sat by him.

What’s this place going to look like?

According to early reports, the restaurant will be 8,000 square feet of French bistro brilliance, at 380 NW 26th Street. That’s right across the street from where Iron Chef Morimoto just opened Momosan. It’ll be full of wood planks, dark banquettes (similar, according to Esquire, to the ones people used as makeshift motel rooms during Pastis’s heyday), and a curved zinc bar featuring a subway tile backdrop. There’ll be a mosaic-tile floor, too, and vintage mirrors throughout. Sounds a lot like Le Zoo, sans the long drive to Bal Harbour.

Why is it coming to Wynwood?

In a press release, Starr said, “For the last few years, I’ve had my eye on Wynwood. I’ve witnessed the vibrant and artistic neighborhood transform into a booming cultural hub with an incredible dining scene. People want great food, energy, and a great location; Pastis Miami will be a perfect addition to the community.” Nice to hear, but also nothing anyone who’s been to Wynwood in the past five years wouldn’t also say.

But when talking to Page Six, Starr elaborated a little more. “It is nice to go somewhere where people are going out and so many people are outside,” he told the tabloid. “During the COVID disaster, it was Miami and in part [our restaurants in] Washington DC that kept our company going...so God bless Miami.” You’re welcome, Mr. Starr! 

Sounds awesome! How do I make a reservation?

While the prospect of celebrity-adjacent French food might sound alluring, Pastis Miami won’t be opening until the summer of 2022. Which, if you know anything about Miami restaurant openings, probably means sometime around New Years 2023. Still, it gives us yet another hotspot we can look forward to welcoming in a couple of years. And perhaps a ballyhooed New York transplant that really is worth the wait.

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Matt Meltzer is a contributing writer for Thrillist. Follow him on Instagram @meltrez1.
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