As the Minister of Culture for Miami’s hotel hotspot Urbanica at the Euclid Hotel, Sexton Garcia has developed a reputation for attracting and retaining customers with his gregarious charisma.
Featured in a lengthy Q&A with Portray magazine prior to the pandemic measures, Garcia was cited in a “best of” series on the Miami scene. Most specifically noted for being “the most gregarious guy in Miami.”
So, when Sexton paired up with renowned Argentine chef Fernando Trocca to open new concept Orilla Bar & Grill inside the popular Urbanica at the Euclid Hotel at the end of November 2019, the pair was primed to make a big splash.
And they did, despite the pandemic measures that have rocked the nation’s restaurant and hospitality industry.
In this week’s Q&A with Boxerbrand blog Recipe for Success, Sexton talks pandemic, Orilla Bar & Grill, and laughs heartily as he recounts the ups and downs of the past year.
BB: How did the pandemic affect your brand and concept?
SG: We had just opened Orilla Bar & Grill at the end of November 2019 when the pandemic guidelines were mandated. And we made sure we followed the guidelines of the state of Florida and the CDC. Because we have out-of-town visitors, and snowbirds, we wanted everyone to feel comfortable. That was our top priority.
Because we’re an indoor/outdoor concept, the mandates involving outdoor dining and social distancing were very easy to adopt.
BB: What is Orilla Bar & Grill’s concept?
SG: The idea, which goes along with the concept of the hotel, is that we wanted to incorporate ourselves into the neighborhood catering to locals, and not necessarily tourists. Though we do a business with out-of-town guests and “snowbirds” our niche is being a place where the locals gather to dine.
BB: And please tell me about Orilla’s brand.
SG: Orilla is the vision of Argentine-renowned chef Fernando Trocca, who is opening another restaurant in London as we speak. It’s a laid-back Argentine steakhouse, with the star of the menu being the chef’s own cuts of meat, which he butchers himself, cooked in a Josper (charcoal-fired) oven. We are known for our top-quality cuts of meat. For example, our flank steak, which Chef Trocca cuts himself, is much thicker than the usual flat cut. We also serve specially cut NY Strip steak and a Wagyu Tomahawk, and a bone-in prime rib.
BB: Tell me about the vibe of the restaurant and how it marries with the hotel.
SG: With both concepts, the feel is that we want our guests to feel at home. At the hotel, our claim to fame is that we greet all our guests with the words, “Welcome home!” We have great employee retention, so it feels like we’re a big family, and we make a point to learn the names of our guests because it just feels good when people know your name. At the Orilla Bar & Grill, we offer family-style dining, which are larger dishes meant to be shared.
BB: How did you attract your customers?
SG: Chef Trocco is very well known, and very renowned in Argentina. So he has a big following in the Argentinian crowd. Our neighborhood following was built through word-of-mouth. That following bleeds out into the rest of our neighborhood, because our customers invite their friends and family to come share a plate.
BB: What is your personal secret to success?
SG: If I had to state it in a word, I’d say the word is empathy. We try to understand how the people we are serving are feeling, and to create an experience for the individuals we’re so lucky to serve.
Timeout Magazine says of the concept: “Orilla sits on the edge of SoFi on Fifth Street. It’s dark and sexy and the tropical dining area outdoors gives this spot atmosphere for days. The food is really good and well-priced, which is a welcomed addition to a neighborhood known for its expensive dining.” — Orilla Bar & Grill uses Boxerbrand’s Linen Naturals menu cover line in its table presentation. Thank you!