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1. Chef Ryan Ratino.jpg Hive Hospitality
Chef Ryan Ratino mans the chef’s counter at Maass.

Washington, D.C.’s Hive Hospitality expands into Florida with two new restaurants

The Ryan Ratino-led group opened Maass in Fort Lauderdale and Ômo by Jônt in Winter Park,, just outside Orlando

Chef Ryan Ratino and Hive Hospitality operate two lauded restaurants in Washington, D.C.: one Michelin-starred Bresca, which opened in 2017, and two-Michelin-starred Jônt, which opened in 2020. Recently, the chef and his team headed to Florida to open two new concepts, first in Fort Lauderdale and then in Winter Park, just outside of Orlando.

First, Maass opened in late December at the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences Fort Lauderdale.

“We were fortunate to have been invited to the location by the Fort Hospitality and Four Seasons teams. The partnership felt great, and we decided to proceed,” Ratino said. “The space is gorgeous and we look forward to growing in the community.”

Maass is a contemporary wood-fire restaurant inspired by the techniques and ingredients of Europe and Japan. Diners can choose between two formats: an à la carte menu in the dining room or a tasting menu at the 12-seat chef’s counter.

2. Dry Aged Kinki.jpg

Dry-aged kinki (Japanese fish) with buttermilk and caviar at Ômo by Jônt.

Dishes on the à la carte menu include foie gras macarons, prawn toast, scallop crudo, suckling pork belly and wagyu short rib, while the chef’s counter menu, priced at $195 per person, changes frequently. Sample dishes include a wagyu beef tartlet, foie gras with fermented banana and black truffle, and chawanmushi (Japanese steamed egg custard) with sea urchin.

Ômo by Jônt opened Feb. 1. Ratino has ties to the area. He attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando and worked nearby as a young cook, and his fiancée was raised in Winter Park.

The restaurant has 16 seats and three unique dining areas. Guests move throughout the space as part of the experience, beginning in the living room for snacks and a welcome beverage, before moving to the savory counter for dinner, and then to the pastry parlor for dessert and postprandial relaxation. The concept is inspired by omotenashi, a practice of wholehearted hospitality that has roots in Japanese tea ceremonies.

The tasting menu, which focuses on Japanese seafood and open-fire hearth cooking, is priced at $245 per person for dinner and $175 for lunch, with optional drink pairings an additional charge. The menu, which feature about 20 preparations, changes regularly, but a few sample dishes include a foie gras “doughnut” with pineapple and sesame, Hokkaido sea urchin with corn chawanmushi and soy milk, and king crab rice with black truffle.

3. Japanese Sweet Potato.jpgPhoto: Japanese sweet potato “Mont Blanc” with sweet miso caramel at Ômo by Jônt.

Ratino said that opening two restaurants in Florida back-to-back was more convenient than challenging. The respective restaurant teams were able to work on both projects, set up vendor accounts, and handle purchasing duties for both locations.

“Our team has been traveling from Washington, D.C., and with both of these locations opening, we have been able to train the teams simultaneously,” Ratino said. “It has been a great feeling of accomplishment thus far.”

As for what’s next, Ratino said that Hive Hospitality is always planning. The team is working on upcoming projects in Los Angeles, teaming up with Marriott at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills to open an outpost of Jônt, plus another as-yet-unnamed restaurant.

“We have some time before these locations to deliver, so we have the amazing opportunity of training the teams from the West Coast in our East Coast restaurants and making sure that our DNA is identical to what we do in Washington, D.C. and Florida,” Ratino said.  

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