Krüs Kitchen—the new virtual chef’s table, market and wine purveyor located in Miami’s Coconut Grove—found itself propelled by 2020’s unique circumstances.
In mid-2019, founders Josh Hackler, Pili Restrepo Hackler and Chef Sebastián Vargas—who has trained at renowned eateries such as Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy (ranked as the best restaurant in the world), 11 Madison Park in New York and Faviken Magasinet in Sweden—began brainstorming the idea of a digital high-end kitchen and bazaar. What might it look like? How would it work? Was there demand, and how could it be done in an elevated way?
With much of the public spending significantly more time at home from March of this year onward, the concept quickly gelled, falling in sync with the moment: the trio found that diners wanted a restaurant experience from the comfort and safety of their dining and living rooms.
“People have suddenly become more conscious of the takeout and delivery process. From the expectations of quality, what they are consuming, timing and reliability, right down to the packaging and the cutlery,” says Pili. “Despite the challenges presented by this year, it made sense to push forward with such a platform. To deliver a real life food experience that starts in a virtual space.”
Krüs Kitchen is situated in downtown Coconut Grove, which is currently undergoing a major revitalization. Josh and his team found their site through the area’s developer, and they were drawn to its particular layout: a fully-built kitchen stood ready on the second floor, without a dedicated eating space. For Krüs’s mission, the unlikely design was a perfect fit, and the trio proceeded. Sebastián works his magic here, and meals may be picked up by local residents, or delivered throughout the city of Miami.
Josh handles management and wine (the company stocks a range of natural and biodynamic labels), while Pili oversees marketing and identity. Krüs Kitchen’s instantly recognizable “empanada” logos, seen hanging in neon signage through the platform’s storefront, have been worked into merchandise, which will be available for purchase on the Krüs Kitchen Market in the coming months. This online shop will also sell local products and goods, and there’s a major collaborative element; over time, Krüs will partner with South Floridian brands to make dedicated wares that will be sold exclusively through the portal.
Yet Krüs Kitchen’s primary focus—as its namesake suggests—is food. Especially tasty, easygoing, yet excellent quality food, at that. Sebastián is in total creative culinary control, tasked with crafting seasonal, vegetable-forward menus, which will be updated on a monthly basis. Proteins, such as wild-caught fish and grass fed meats, are locally and sustainably sourced; fruits and vegetables are from regional growers. “Sebastián’s background is incredibly diverse. Having worked in the places he’s worked, his training allows him to execute a really simple, delicious menu, but done so at a super high level,” says Josh.
Krüs Kitchen also maintains a philanthropic practice: a portion of sales is donated to the Leto Campaign, which provides financial support to single mothers working in the restaurant industry. At a time when many outlets face uncertain futures, this assistance is needed more than ever.
“Our entire premise, and promise, is to make and deliver something that is sustainable, that is thoughtful, and that is conscious,” says Sebastián. “Takeout food from a restaurant is normally an afterthought, but we are reversing that concept. We’re bringing the restaurant home to you. And we are meticulous. Every detail is considered.”
Oh, and one more thing: you may be wondering what the word Krüs means. It’s from a Swedish dialect, and it translates to “cookie jar.” Krüs Kitchen—reach in!