Forte Dei Marmi, a new Italian restaurant and arts club, is opening in Miami Beach’s South-of-Fifth neighborhood this week, in the space formerly occupied by the shuttered Cavalli Miami.
Celebrity restaurateur Myles Chefetz of Prime 112 and Prime Italian, and Nelson Fox own the 5,875-square-foot, Mediterranean Revival building at 150 Ocean Drive. Fox told The Real Deal he purchased the property 15 years ago and Chefetz bought out his former partners eight years ago.
Before Cavalli, the site had previously housed DeVito’s and Joia, Fox said.
The two-story, 5,875-square-foot building, built in 1938, was recently renovated by architect Chad Oppenheim, with gardens designed by Enzo Enea and interiors by Milan-based designer Henry Timi. Fox said the tenants spent nearly $5 million on the renovations.
Forte Dei Marmi is owned by Tatiana and Riccardo Silva, a spokesperson for the restaurant told TRD. Riccardo Silva is a major shareholder and president of MP & Silva, a London-based global television rights distribution firm. He’s also a member of the Silva family, one of the most prominent and historic families in the Italian chemical industry, according to his company’s website. MP & Silva has offices in Miami and New York, as well as in various cities in Europe, Asia and Africa. The Silva family moved to Miami in 2007, and Riccardo Silva has been splitting his time since then between Miami and London, according to the website.
Silva had been the co-owner of Cavalli Miami, and bought out his partners to open Forte Dei Marmi, which is the name of a beachfront town outside Milan that is like the Hamptons of Milan, Fox said.
Silva’s other businesses include MP Milan, MP Miami and MP Paris, agencies that manage celebrities and models. He is also the president and co-owner of the Miami FC, Miami’s professional soccer team and is among the owners of Flamengo, the popular Brazilian football club.
Forte Dei Marmi’s kitchen will be headed by Michelin-starred chef Antonio Mellino and his son Raffaele Mellino. The 120-seat restaurant on the ground floor will serve Italian cuisine, with organic, farm-raised and locally-produced food, home-made pastas and wild-caught seafood and fish, the release said. The second floor will house the “arts club” and lounge, which plans to feature performances, talks and concerts, along with art and design events.
Chefetz told TRD that Forte Dei Marmi is not competitive with Prime Italian. “It’s more refined Northern Italian,” he said.
The restaurant represents Mellino’s first operation in the United States. He is also the chef behind the Quattro Passi restaurant on Italy’s Amalfi Coast.
Chefetz has lived in the South-of-Fifth neighborhood since 1994, first buying at South Pointe Towers. In May 2013, he sold his penthouse at Ocean House to leveraged buyout king Marc Leder for $15 million. Last year, he bought a $7.9 million unit at the Continuum. He also signed a contract for a $3 million townhouse at the under-construction Three Hundred Collins, and owns a home on the Venetian Islands in Miami Beach.
The restaurateur has launched a slew of restaurants in South-of-Fifth, in addition to Prime 112 and Prime Italian, including Nemo, Big Pink, Shoji and Prime Fish. He also owns the Prime Hotel.