Top Chef alumni Jeff McInnis brings southern hospitality to South Beach with Yardbird

Their primarily made-from-scratch menu uses humanely treated meats and seasonal ingredients, also supporting Southern farmers.

Yardbird boasts a vast selection of over 50 different bourbons, including some hard to find brands like Pappy Van Winkle and Black Maple Hill. They also have a nice selection of bourbon cocktails. The beer selection includes many Southern breweries, including Tampa's own Cigar City Brewery.

Lucky Miamians were treated to a preview party on Saturday, October 1st, which proved to be a teaser to whet our appetites. It will be exciting to see what McInnis delivers when the restaurant opens on Monday. McInnis was ever the gentleman, hand delivering dishes to our table throughout the evening. He and his manager Greg proved to be a formidable team, juggling dozens of cooks, servers, and bartenders while taking the time to stop and charm us ladies at intervals throughout the evening. guests were treated to goodie bags that included pickled goods and various bourbons — Y-U-M!

Fried green tomato BLT
  • Fried green tomato BLT
My favorite bite of the evening was the fried green tomato BLT. It was to-die-for, a perfect combination of salty, spicy, and bacony. Perfectly cooked. Or maybe my favorite was the meatloaf. Or the fried cheese on watermelon. Oh wait, it was the fried chicken on a buttery biscuit. Heck y'all, it was all fantastic!

I also managed to try every one of the six bourbon cocktails. The Southern Peach tasted of sweet tea and included a thyme garnish. My grandparents do not serve tea like this at their house. What a shame.

Some more pictures from the preview party are below. My pictures are of sample bites, not actual size. In fact, many of the entrees at Yardbird are family-sized and meant for sharing. Just like at my grandparents' house.

Yardbird is now serving dinner and will begin lunch service the week of October 10. Sunday Gospel Brunch will begin November 6. Hours of operation are as follows: 11AM — Midnight, Sunday — Wednesday and 11AM — 2AM, Thursday — Saturday. Yardbird is located at 1600 Lenox Avenue, one block from Lincoln Road. For more information, visit

It's another great excuse to brave Alligator Alley and make the trip to check out Miami's dining scene.

Fois gras with pickled watermelon
  • Fois gras with pickled watermelon

Deviled egg
  • Deviled egg

  • Meatloaf

Grilled peach wrapped in ham
  • Grilled peach wrapped in ham

Watermelon with grilled farm cheese
  • Watermelon with grilled farm cheese

Brined chicken on the bone
  • Brined chicken on the bone

Chocolate chip cookie
  • Chocolate chip cookie

Smore and a sour orange merengue
  • S'more and a sour orange merengue

Apple pie
  • Apple pie

Southern Peach
  • Southern Peach

(Editor's Note: Though our CL Food contributor Gretchen has left us for the deep south, a.k.a.: Miami, she's still keeping us abreast of the latest food news and reporting on the fantastic dining scene that's just a few hours south of us here in Tampa Bay.)

  • Emily and Gretchen with Chef Jeff McInnis

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar officially opened Monday October 3rd, in South Beach, bringing traditional southern fare with an elevated elegant twist to South Beach.

McInnis, former chef at Miami's Ritz Carlon DiLido Beach Club and Gigi, rose to celebri-chef status as a contestant on Bravo's Top Chef reality show competitionin 2008. His new adventure with John Kunkel (of 50 Eggs and Lime) is said to be a,"down-to-earth joint that preaches the gospel of good food and good company." And, that it is. My grandparents would absolutely love McInnis' fried chicken — which takes 27 hours to make and with 150 year-old recipe.

  • Fried chicken on a biscuit

The menu has a made-from-scratch ethic that uses humanely treated meats and seasonal ingredients that helps support southern farmers such as Paradise Farms, The Green Railroad Organic Workshop, Worden Farm, Lake Meadow Naturals and White Oak Pastures — all suppliers of the restaurant. Everything is made in-house, even the alligator sausage.


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