Evolution, Not Revolution
Barley reimagines itself again—with delightful results—at Downtown Dadeland
The American brasserie, located in Miami’s budding Downtown Dadeland neighborhood, planted its roots in a Kendall condominium in 2012 as the pork-centric Barley & Swine, later renaming itself B&S Gastropub after complaints from a Texas restaurant with a similar name. Some time later, construction work on the building affected the pub’s exhaust system and forced smoke back into the kitchen.
But chef and owner Jorgie Ramos had a plan: turn the restaurant into a sandwich shop, Barley and Wich. Ultimately, however, he decided to reopen as Barley, leaving behind “Swine” and its chaotic past. Once Ramos settled in, he was approached by representatives from Downtown Dadeland.
“They were interested in what we had going on,” he says. “I decided to close the restaurant in February 2016 and move forward with them. It seemed like a great opportunity.”
During construction, Ramos debuted Faith & Pizza, a pop-up restaurant where all proceeds were donated to local charities. “It was important to me to keep our employees with a job,” he says. “And to give our customer base a place to check us out in the interim.”
In late September 2016, Barley opened in Downtown Dadeland, an urban residential and retail oasis in Kendall. The 2,300-square-foot restaurant, the largest for Ramos so far, serves rustic American comfort food with international influences, predominately from Latin America and Europe.
“A bigger kitchen allows us to try out different foods,” he says. “I tell people that this version of Barley is a ‘grown up.’ It’s like we went away to college and came back. We finally know ourselves.”
As Barley evolved, so did Ramos, who decided to give imaginative food center stage.
“It’s been baby steps to get here,” he says. “But I finally feel comfortable. I’ve come into myself as a chef and figured out what I want to do.”
Ramos allows his heritage to shine through Barley’s menu, recreating family recipes with a modern spin.
“There’s a lot of confidence that goes into it,” he says. “I used to worry about adding certain foods to the menu. As I’ve grown, so has my sense of believing and trusting myself about these things.”
Ramos’ menu changes on a weekly basis, with plates constantly swapped for something newer and more daring. But certain dishes, which often are Ramos’ favorites, are regulars.
There are croquettes stuffed with serrano ham and manchego cheese, and served with guava sauce on the side; roasted cauliflower doused in white barbecue sauce and raisins; and popcorn bisque made of sweet corn puree and white cheddar popcorn drizzled with white truffle oil.
Other plates are in constant evolution, such as the macaroni and cheese, which changes daily. Sometimes it’s made with spinach and artichoke, other times it’s reminiscent of a croquette. The only way to find out the day’s flavor is by visiting.
The restaurant, featuring a blend of rustic and modern décor, offers a menu as eclectic as its history. Seared scallops with pork cheek marmalade are listed with Italian-inspired gnocchi in a blue cheese and fig sauce, and charred octopus with a farro salad. For Ramos, nothing is off limits.
“I’m really happy with where we are now,” he says. “We definitely want to expand this concept to other places in South Florida, so that is what is on our radar next.”
Barley, an American Brasserie
Where: 8945 SW 72nd Place, Miami
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-11 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 5 p.m.-midnight; Sunday brunch, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Contact: 786.623.6733; barleymia.com