Just when you thought you'd heard all the news there is to hear about Tap 42 founders Sean and Blaise McMackin doing big things in South Florida -- from Blaise's new coffee shop, Warsaw, to the third Tap 42 location in Coral Gables and this month's opening of Green Bar & Kitchen off Gault Ocean Mile -- the members of the restaurant team are making headlines yet again with the announcement of another new concept.
This time it has nothing to do with coffee, beer, or health-focused fare, however. Instead Bar Rita will be all about modern Mexican and hand-crafted margaritas.
Tap Co. Restaurant Group operating partner Andy Yeager recently announced he -- in conjunction with the McMackin brothers and the group's corporate chef, Andrew Balick -- will be bringing a new restaurant to the Tap 42 property on South Andrews Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.
"Our goal, what we're trying to do, is make this area a dining destination," says Yeager. "By developing the neighborhood around Tap 42 and adding high-quality restaurant concepts, we feel we can really transform this area."
The group has selected Lyndsey Waters, whom the team recruited from San Francisco's Salumeria, to act as Bar Rita's executive chef. Waters -- who's cooked for South Beach's Azul at the Mandarin Oriental and began her career with a high-profile internship at California's French Laundry -- will be working closely alongside Balick to develop the restaurant's opening menu.
"At Bar Rita, we're really trying to go the nontraditional route," says Yeager. "The food will focus less on authenticity and more on innovation."
That means you won't find the usual Tex-Mex suspects like nachos, enchiladas, or burritos, says Yeager. Instead, expect Waters and Balick to deliver a unique interpretation of the what the creators are calling "modern Mexican bar food."
While news about Bar Rita is just breaking, the idea has been in the works for some time, but tie-ups with the city over the restaurant's construction kept things from moving faster. The team expects to begin construction of the custom, 5,500-square-foot space in January, what will be a spacious, two-story establishment with a rooftop margarita bar and first-floor dining area and bar. It will occupy the building located at 1401 S. Andrews Ave., which directly connects to the existing Tap 42 space.
"Ultimately, our goal is to create a very casual atmosphere where anyone can go without having to make too tough a decision for great drinks and innovative food," says Yeager.
Bar Rita is expected to open in early 2015. Visit the Bar Rita Facebook page.
Nicole Danna is a food blogger covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.
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