Kush Clevelander will open at the Clevelander Hotel in Miami Beach

Since opening his first restaurant in Miami, Lokal, in 2011, Matt Kuscher has become one of the city’s most savvy restaurateurs by catering to locals and offering value-added food and drink in a friendly environment.

Now, Kuscher is about to embark on his most ambitious project, taking over the food program at the Clevelander South Beach Hotel & Bar, in partnership with owner, Jesta Hotels & Resorts.

Kuscher tells new times that he was approached by Jesta to help improve Clevelander’s food operations and to help attract locals to the hotel, which has become more of a tourist attraction than a hangout for Miamians. “I always try to take Miami classics and bring them to life,” Kuscher says, adding, “It excites me tremendously. Everyone’s been partying at Clevelander, but probably not in the last ten years. I want to change that.”

Kuscher’s Kush Hospitality Group has had a presence at the hotel since July 19, when the group took over back-end food responsibilities. Kuscher’s team revamped the menus, focusing on using freshly ground beef, locally baked bread and homemade sauces. “We wanted to make the transition quietly because we were training staff, basically, to go from a ‘frozen’ kitchen to a scratch kitchen,” says Kuscher. “Luckily the staff are super excited. I think they needed a change.”

In addition to revamping food at Clevelander, Kuscher will open Kush Clevelander, a restaurant and sports bar in the former Games on Sports restaurant, located behind Clevelander’s signature pool. “They had a back room behind the pool bar which they pretty much stopped using except for big parties. It was a really cool space to do a sports bar, so I saw it as a opportunity,” says Kuscher, adding that Kush Clevelander should open sometime around the end of August. “What we need to do is purely from a design perspective,” he adds.

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While a menu is yet to be set for Kush Clevelander, consider burgers, sandwiches, and some vegan options. The bar menu at Kush Clevelander will be designed by Kush Beverage Director Cristina Suarez and will feature a variety of craft beers, classic cocktails and drinks created specifically for Clevelander. The beverage program at the pool bar and all other satellite bars will continue to be managed by Jesta. Kuscher explains, “Obviously the Clevelander has a very thriving pool bar and party vibe. My focus is on the food and the sports bar.”

To further delineate Kush Clevelander’s pool party scene, the restaurant will have a separate entrance, so guests can walk around the pool and the crowds if they choose. “There’s a party vibe and it’s great. My goal is to create a space where South Beach residents can feel comfortable.”

Kuscher has one more goal with Kush Clevelander. “Dan Le Batard’s studio is just upstairs from the sports bar. He’s known for his Miami pride. I want him and his guests to say ‘wow’ when they walk through the space. I want them to think it’s the coolest sports bar ever – and I’m sure they’ve been to a million sports bars.”

Kuscher hasn’t pinpointed the bar’s decor exactly, but heeds the restaurateur’s creativity – coupled with his love for Miami – and it’s a safe bet that Kush Clevelander will pay homage to the greatest moments in sports history. in Miami, with memorabilia, murals, and nods to the likes of Don Shula, Dwyane Wade, Dan Marino, and other big names.

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And plenty of TVs to watch sports. “I was in South Beach during the Heat playoffs, and I couldn’t think of too many places to watch the game. That’s going to change,” Kuscher said.

Miamians will only have to wait a few weeks to see the final product.

Kush Cleveland.
1020 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; kushhospitality.com. Opening August 2022.

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