When you think of hospitality leaders, mostly what comes to mind is brands and big companies. But there's one individual whose name crops up in industry-leading moves time after time: David Grutman.
Cheekily called the King of Nightlife or the King of Hospitality, Grutman leads the industry from his home base in Miami - but his name is creating ripples around the world.
Grutman has announced his newest venture, a restaurant collab with Bad Bunny, and it just goes to show that the King of Nightlife is always ahead of the curve. But how does he do it? How is it that one person can consistently pull out win after win - and keeping shaping an industry that resists leadership? The Grutman effect is something unique, and there's a lot behind it.
Grutman and Bad Bunny Announce New Collab
Last week, Grutman and Bad Bunny announced their collaboration on a new restaurant in Brickell. A Japanese Steakhouse, the new location will be helmed by Grutman's Groot Hospitality and open under the name Gekko, meaning "moonlight."
Gekko will take over the Katsuya space at SLS Lux Brickell Tower. Miami Eater shares, "Its menu will be focused around prime cuts and different preparations of Wagyu beef with “hints” of Korean barbecue flavors. Guests can also expect plenty of elaborate table-side presentations of food, like flame-seared steak courses, alongside other Japanese favorites including a full sushi program and a six-seat omakase bar."
Concept art shows an elegant and contemporary space, with architectural and artistic features, mid-tone woods and pops of jeweltone color to paint a classy backdrop for the fine food guests will enjoy. The Rockwell Group will be designing the space and share in a statement that the concept of Gekko (moonlight) as a theme is, "anchoring the aesthetic in a luxurious-yet-contemporary application of graphic wall coverings, jewel tones, golden light and natural wood accents."
PageSix writes, "'My career constantly brings me out on the road. When I’m traveling, the days are full. Touring, meetings, interviews, filming. What I look forward to most, when all of this is done, is going out to eat at a nice restaurant,' Bad Bunny, 28, exclusively tells Page Six in a statement on Friday. 'For me, it’s rewarding. I am passionate about food and David is a perfect partner.'"
Grutman added, "I wanted to do something that hybridized a steakhouse and a high-end sushi restaurant in a new way."
Bad Bunny is reportedly a sushi "fanatic" and Groot Hospitality is excited to try something different than they've done before.
It's an excellent collab between two leaders in their respective fields, and Brickell gets to reap the benefits of this dream team pairing.
How does Grutman Stay Ahead of the Industry?
Creating a restaurant with one of the world's preeminent rappers is nothing new for Grutman but it does beg the question: how does Grutman keep doing it? How does one man stay ahead of an entire constantly-shifting industry?
The Grutman effect is created by two cornerstone concepts: hard work and instinct. Grutman works from sun-up to sun-down, and started his career in the industry at the bottom. Working his way through all of the layers of hospitality, Grutman has a keen understanding of how the industry functions from the ground up, and knows how to create a system of success.
Beyond that though, he has an uncanny instinct not only for what people want and what intrigues them, but also for how to create magic from thin air.
Grutman's restaurant portfolio includes Papi Steak, Komodo, newly opened Key Club, Swan and Strawberry Moon, as well as multiple other hospitality ventures such as Goodtime Hotel opened in partnership with music sensation Pharrell Williams.
But creating food, music and entertainment artistry on the ground isn't enough for Grutman - one of his newest ventures includes designing the world's first commercial space lounge.
CELEB reported on this remarkable new venture when it was announced in April; "If you've ever sat in a Grutman venue and thought, 'this feels like the future,' it turns out you were a little prophetic yourself. Because now, Grutman has taken his talent to soaring new heights alongside Space Perspective as they bring an exciting new way for the adventurous to see the world. Space Perspective is a company that offers edge-of-space flights, and Experience Curator Grutman has designed the world's first Space Lounge that will entertain the curious as they see the world as perhaps it was meant to be seen. Space Perspective recently unveiled their concept for Spaceship Neptune, the world's first luxury Space Lounge that will take 8 guests to new heights.
Grutman was brought into the project to design this Space Lounge, with panoramic views and an elegant interior that had to find a way to thrill without distracting from the views outside. Of course, Grutman is the master of balancing pizazz and reserve - and it shows in the new Lounge design. Grutman says of the experience in a statement, 'I am beyond excited about advising Space Perspective on the Space Lounge experience - we really want to make this transformative. The world class team at Space Perspective is on a mission to change people’s perception of what adventure travel can be. We have so many ideas on how we can customize the journey – from birthday celebrations, and corporate getaways, to creating seminal moments that will capture the imaginations of all.'
The Lounge itself will over 360-degree views of space and the world below. Grutman knows the value of a detail-oriented experience and it's all been carefully curated, right down to the Neptune drink glasses, a specially-designed dessert and a bar that feels like the best of Miami nightlife - just in space."
For more information on this out-of-this-world venture, click here.
Another Upcoming Collab for Groot
Down to Earth, the restaurant with Bad Bunny isn't the only big-name collab Grutman has in the works.
In January, Grutman announced that he and sometimes-partner Pharrell Williams would be creating another industry-leading concept, this time in the Bahamas.
CELEB writes of the newest team-up between the pair, "Hearing that Grutman and Williams are working together again is like hearing Simon and Garfunkel have reunited: it’s legendary. They both bring enormous talent to bear, and their varied skill sets have combined to create what could be the blueprint of tomorrow’s Miami.
In the meantime, they’re working on something new, and it’s happening in the Bahamas. On Atlantis Paradise Island, Grutman and Williams will be launching a brand-new resort: Somewhere Else. CNN reports, 'Slated to open in January of 2024, Somewhere Else will house approximately 400 rooms and suites, multiple restaurants and bars, and bungalows with recording studios — with an emphasis on indoor-outdoor flows with lush, freeform landscaping.
Williams, in a joint exclusive interview with Grutman, said that the concept of ‘tropical modernism’ is being reimagined for this new space, hinting at a more contemporary feel. ‘Often, when talking about tropical aesthetics, there’s this harkening back to another time,’ Williams said. ‘It’s like, ‘man, let’s let that time be.’ We’re going for the future here.' '
Shawn Sullivan, partner at The Rockwell Group, leads the design and envisions a fluid sight line, with cascading pools and a heavily landscaped garden entrance, beckoning guests into a polychrome interior decor scheme. The goal is to take away a lot of the rigidity of the current area and let nature guide their hands when bringing the buildings and design elements to life."
It's a beautiful art-organic concept that will bring the creativity of Williams together with the industry-know-how and magic of Grutman, sure to be another stunning success for a man who just can't lose.
But while that's in the works, get your appetite ready for Gekko: reports suggest the new dining destination will be open in July.