Always Cooking Something Up

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By Clarissa Buch

Adrianne Calvo is in the heat of her busiest year yet. Her namesake flagship restaurant, Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant & Wine Bar, recently celebrated 12 years in Kendall; and, in the last few months, she’s introduced two new concepts—noodle shop Noods and dessert spot The Beverly—inside the Yumbrella Food Hall in South Miami. At the same time, she opened a second location of her fast-casual, breakfast-driven spot, Cracked by Chef Adrianne, at Yumbrella.

“The scariest thing a person can do is open a restaurant without backing or a solid reputation, and in the middle of nowhere against all odds,” Calvo says. “I had already done that in my 20s. Opening three concepts at the same time, that’s a cakewalk now.”

Ask Calvo which restaurant is her favorite, and she’ll say, “that’s like asking who’s your favorite child.”

“They all are,” she says, laughing. “Chef Adrianne’s is my firstborn. It took 10 years to even think of expanding. Cracked at the Wharf is my first food truck, Cracked in South Miami is my first food hall [spot], Noods is my first really specific concept, laser-focused. And The Beverly is the most fun and whimsical. Who doesn’t love to wake up and go play with ice cream? One thing they all have in common is that they take a lot of heart to be successful.”

That heart and passion for food have made the 34-year-old Calvo one of South Florida’s most accomplished young chefs. In her late teens, Calvo self-published her first cookbook, Maximum Flavor, and by 22, she debuted Chef Adrianne’s in a strip mall in Kendall, the only location she could afford at the time. In the years that followed, she kept busy in the kitchen while writing and publishing three more books.

“I get my motivation from a million places,” she says. “I love my customers. I’m obsessed with food and how it makes people feel. I love how they can long for it all day, take pictures of it, and celebrate with it. If you’ve had a bad day, your favorite dish can make you feel better. If you’re sick, a bowl of chicken soup makes you feel better. When we travel, we specify places we must eat at first. Food is the epicenter of life; it is the common ground of the world.

Though it took Calvo more than a decade to expand beyond Chef Adrianne’s, she says her inspiration and motivation to cook and run restaurants has never run dry. Now, as she moves into the fast-casual arena with her most recent openings, Calvo brings a piece of Chef Adrianne’s into every new project.

“We still have the fine dining approach to our casual concepts,” she says. “We still source like its Chef Adrianne’s, and everything is made from scratch, including our dipping sauces. I want people to experience ‘maximum flavor,’ whether it’s in a Five Diamond Reserve filet at Chef Adrianne’s or in a fried chicken sandwich from Cracked.”

As for Calvo’s most recent openings, Noods and The Beverly, their influence comes from her passion for traveling, specifically discovering Asian restaurants around the country.

“I’ve gone all across America on two book tours and we always find time to dive into cultural-jewel neighborhoods,” she says. “After taking the best of what we experienced, we came up with Noods, a euphoric noodle experience. Then came The Beverly, a dessert bar with a nostalgic and elegant personality. In our first month, we ran out of food consistently every weekend even though we’d double up on ordering product. We couldn’t keep up. We had to buy out more space inside of Yumbrella just to keep up with demand. So I am forever grateful and even more inspired now.”

As for what’s next, Calvo knows one thing for certain: she will spend the rest of her life cooking.

“What’s next? I have no idea,” she says. “I say if I can cook until I die, I am happy. When inspiration knocks at my door, and the right opportunity presents itself, we move forward.” ♦


Yumbrella Food Hall

Shops at Sunset Place at 5701 Sunset Drive, South Miami


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