KAO Group — known for its South American Sushi Club concepts, as well as KAO Sushi & Grill in Coral Gables, Fla. and J&J Fresh Kitchen in Boca Raton. Fla. — is prepping to open a new concept in the heart of Hallandale Beach, Fla. The upcoming KAO Bar & Grill concept is unique because it will be constructed entirely from nine shipping containers.
The 5,000-square-foot restaurant has a projected opening date of late April or early May.
“Tens of thousands of containers are dumped every year, and we wanted to play our part combining our love for innovation with sustainability,” Marco Pagano, KAO Group’s head of communications and public relations said.
The restaurant features a patio that’s anchored by a 14-seat bar and adorned with natural wood accents, plush lounge chairs, sofas, and soft ambient lighting. The bar will serve an assortment of beers, wines, and craft cocktails, and will host rotating live entertainment. Inside the main dining room, booths and communal tables are surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows for an open and airy feel that connects with the outdoor space.
The menu begins with a selection of shareable tablitas (charcuterie) platters that run from $12-28 and include grilled meats like Argentine chorizo, blood sausage, and churrasco, or cured meats like prosciutto, soppressata and coppa alongside cheese, roasted red peppers, and olives. There’s also an empanadas tablita with a choice of beef, ham, cheese or spinach empanadas.
A selection of starters ($8-$21) includes hummus, Angus mini burgers, barbecue pork ribs and Roca chicken (popcorn chicken and potatoes wedges with a side of spicy mayo). Argentine-style pizzas ($13-19) are also available, along with chicken and barbecue pork lettuce wrap tacos ($12) and a couple salads.
Signature sandwiches — lomito (Argentine steak sandwich), pulled pork and choripan (Argentine chorizo sandwich) — are listed alongside a bacon cheeseburger, vegan burger, and Milanesas (thinly breaded prime veal or chicken filets fried crispy and served with homemade aioli as a sandwich or “al plato” as a main course with a choice of side, $17-$22).
The star of the show is the selection of grilled meats, chicken and fish, each served with a variety of sides and chimichurri sauce. These include a NY strip loin ($35), ribeye ($65), T-bone ($69), Patagonian lamb ribs ($42), tomahawk ($160), grilled branzino ($42), and grilled chicken ($17).
“We’re thrilled to bring our first container restaurant project to Hallandale and to share our passion for Argentine and American cuisine with the community,” co-founder Matias Pagano said in a statement. “There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing people enjoy the food and atmosphere you’ve created, and we’re excited to do that in a community with a strong Argentine population. We’ve worked hard to create a welcoming space that’s perfect for gathering with friends and family, enjoying great food, and making memories.”
Marco Pagano said that KAO Group doesn’t currently have another shipping container restaurant in the works, but they’re open to the possibility if it makes sense in the future. The group has already secured a location for their next project in Weston, Fla., though they’re not yet ready to share further details.