Chica’s Miami Outpost Open This Week, with Chef Lorena García in the House

Chica Lorena Garcia BELatina

Chef Lorena García is a busy chica following the opening of her restaurant Chica. Situated in Little Haiti, Chica has begun serving lunch, brunch, dinner, and late night noshes to hungry Miami diners as of this week. Chef García is an experienced veteran of the restaurant industry with a bit of star power. Even if you’ve never eaten at any of her restaurants around the country, she’s a familiar face from her work and appearances on “Top Chef Masters,” “America’s Next Great Restaurant,” and Univision’s “Despierta America.”

Place and personal identity are two driving influences in Chica. This is a celebration of the food you find in Miami,” she told the Miami Herald. This is who I am.” She described the restaurant as celebrating all of the Latin cultures that have been a part of her life, citing her Venezuelan roots and husband’s Peruvian heritage, her travels through Mexico, and the storied Argentinian treatment of grilled meats. Chef García has had restaurants in Miami in the past, including Food Café and Elements Tierra.

The menu at Chica boasts a Brazilian wood-fired churrasco grill, fresh masa harina made in house, a selection of raw dishes reflecting pan-Latin tastes, a bottomless brunch with dishes like dulce de leche French toast, and for any meal’s pièce de résistance, a “churro tower.” Expect modern Latin American vibes with a nod toward tradition in Chica’s decor and ambience. Its design features classic motifs like wooden archways and stucco, with details like hand-painted plaster tiles and custom made outdoor dining chairs made in the Sonoran Desert to bring more character and warmth to the space. There’s also a stage for live music and DJs.

In an interview earlier this year with Las Vegas Magazine, she spoke about her commitment to tradition and detail in her menu, an approach to cooking that brings out the authenticity of the dishes. “The comments I hear from every table is just how flavorful the food is,” she said. “Its about the approach to each ingredient and letting people know we dont open cans, everything is made from scratch. Theres something to be said that we have a masa program and (we) make the tortillas.”

This is Chica’s second outpost, with its original situated on the Las Vegas Strip where she has been representing as its first Latina head chef — and one of only a few female chefs out of thousands of restaurants on the Strip, according to the Miami New Times. With Chica opening in Miami, García will be pivoting her attention to getting it off the ground and humming. “I like to be involved. I’m all about my team,” she told the Times. “If they see me cooking and they see me being humble, that’s how I earn their respect.”