Now, the restaurant gets a new lease on life when Donatella Arpaia opens Noma Beach at Redfish in mid-November.
Arpaia, a celebrity chef known for her meatballs, relocated to Pinecrest from New York City in 2018. For the past few years, Arpaia has been busy raising her three small children and navigating the pandemic with her husband, a heart surgeon. Arpaia says that these years allowed her to learn Miami. “It was a big move at the time. I was such a diehard New York girl, but I feel like a true Miamian now,” she says.
Arpaia wanted to get back into the hospitality industry but had certain stipulations. “For me, it would have to be something close to my house because traffic is a nightmare. And it had to be something that inspires me,” she shares.
Arpaia was invited to dine at Redfish and was instantly stunned. “When I saw it, I was like, Oh my gosh, I love this place,” she says.
Arpaia partnered with Rodney Barreto to work on the space. Barreto, who serves as both chairman of the Miami Super Bowl Committee and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, helped Arpaia preserve the integrity of the historic structure while upgrading the kitchen to make it a more functional space. “The kitchen is minuscule, so we divided the inner space to make more room for back-of-the-house operations. It’s now 50 percent kitchen,” Arpaia explains.
Arpaia is also installing a Wood Stone wood-burning oven outside, which will expand the restaurant’s cooking footprint and finish fish and meat dishes.
The chef, who spent her summers in Naples, Italy, growing up, will offer Italian dishes using locally sourced ingredients. “The pastas, the pizzas, the meatballs will all be on the menu. I got a great pasta machine from Italy, and I can’t wait to use it,” she says. Noma Beach will also serve seafood. “We’re looking at the water, so there has to be fresh fish.” Arpaia is planning on offering simply made crudo. “You get a good piece of yellowtail and season it with olive oil from Sicily and salt, and it tastes so fresh and clean, you don’t need more ingredients.”