Viviani has been working in kitchens since he was 11 years old in his native Italy. By the time he was 28 he was the owner of five different restaurants when he decided to sell them all and come to America. Since then he has opened several successful restaurants throughout the country and has become a well-recognized and well-liked chef.
When Viviani and his partners decided bring the Siena Tavern concept to Miami, the restaurant team partnered up with local vendors like Bar Lab and Wynwood Brewing to help create the bar program. As for the menu, Viviani tells Chat Chow that he enlists his friends, family and co-workers to help narrow down the menu from 300 dishes to 35 “cravers.”
As for what deems a dish as a “craver” he notes, “we like to have the ‘wow’ kind of dishes, because if I can’t get the reaction where you want to come back for more there is some more work to do on it.”
Some of the most popular “cravers” on the menu are the house-made pastas, octopus, pizza and a meatball that’s so beloved it has it’s own Twitter account.
Curious how Viviani feels about taking over the legendary space? Or why dining is different in Miami versus Chicago? Find out those things and more in the video above.
The fast casual restaurant, located on the first floor of the Eva Hotel, is a no-frills taqueria serving up seven different types of tacos to a standing-room only crowd. Santana emphasizes that everything in Taquiza is homemade right down to its masa corn tortillas, which uses corn grown in small heirloom farms sourced by Masienda. Other popular menu items include the guacamole with hand torn chips, dry rubbed beef jerky, and its take on the popular ice cream treat the choco taco.
But Santana hasn’t always been a chef — he actually began his career doing digital work, but always had a passion for food. After helping coordinate one of the first-ever Cobaya dinners, he met chef Jeremiah Bullfrog and began assisting him on his food truck. His passion grew from there and before long he left the digital world and became a chef full time.
Curious how Santana learned how to master the masa tortilla? Or what tacos are his favorite on the menu? Find out all that and more in video above.
Simply said… we love food, video and a great story. So on April 13th, 2011, we launched ChatChowTV™, a mouth-watering video podcast where we go behind the scenes with the chefs, owners and mixologists of Florida’s celebrated food industry. Hosted by Lauren Bernat, the viral Wii Fit Girl sensation, the show consists of 6-10 minute episodes each individually highlighting some of our favorite food personalities. We hope you enjoy our content and the many more episodes to come. With that said, feel free to email us if you want to suggest someone, tell us about your restaurant or simply to say hello.