A Pandemic Won’t Slow Her Down

By: Lauren Hyde

Miami based chef Adrianne Calvo’s restaurants are thriving despite Covid-19 restrictions. She’s used to tackling the pre-pandemic challenges of the restaurant business but is now adapting to a new level of difficulty. 

She’s no stranger to working hard and making things happen. “Working hard physically and mentally has always been embedded in me,” said Calvo. “Sometimes throughout my career, I have felt I have pushed myself to the limit, but COVID taught me there’s even another limit beyond that that I can go.” Her impressive resume includes: catering the 2003 Florida Marlins World Series, opening her first restaurant at just 22-years-old, writing numerous cookbooks, and being named the best chef in Miami three times by New Times. 

Calvo’s passion for cooking shines bright among all of the uncertainty the country’s facing. The chef and her team haven’t slowed down. “There was no time to lose. We focused on still providing the same experience guests would get at our restaurants at home for anniversaries, birthdays, etc.,” said Calvo. “Although a lot changed, those things weren’t canceled. We never compromised the quality or integrity of our ingredients even if our presentation and delivery had to adapt.” Her own and other people’s love for food motivated her to push onward. 

The 35-year-old has three restaurants in the Miami area. Her waterfront seafood restaurant, RedFish by Chef Adrianne, inside of Matheson Hammock Park is a revitalization of the Redfish Grill. Its grand opening was held on June 23. Her first business venture, Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Bar, inspired by California wine country reopened on August 10 after moving locations and undergoing renovations. New additions include a craft cocktail bar, a wood-burning oven, and two private dining rooms including a chef’s table. Cracked by Chef Adrianne started as a food truck in 2018 and has since evolved. It offers vegan-friendly options made with locally sourced, sustainable ingredients. “It’s what we call ‘Fine-Casual’ it’s a place where you can have delicious Spritz cocktails, Pork Belly Sliders, Burgers, Fried Chicken but also equally delicious Roasted Cauliflower, Green Bean Salad, etc. It’s really a relaxed little Maximum Flavor hub,” said Calvo. 

Amidst the pandemic, her restaurants have helped create nearly 200 new jobs, from in-house staff to technical support, florists, maintenance, and more. The restaurants also made it a priority to keep supporting their vendors. While other establishments were cutting costs, they kept ordering and paying on their deliveries to ensure that those businesses would remain sustainable. 

The restaurants can only offer outdoor seating which has been their main challenge in the thick of the Miami summer heat. Guests have ventured out, despite the weather, and some opt for takeout multiple times a week to show their support. “I’ve never felt the love more,” said Calvo. “I’m eternally grateful.”  

The future is appearing more uncertain than ever, but Calvo’s not giving into it. “Keep pushing forward. Keep adapting. Lead your team forward, positively. I never dwell on how things will never be the same. We focus on the good because there sure is still a lot of good.”