Chef Michael Gilligan Reinvents the Rusty Pelican Restaurant

The Rusty Pelican Waterfront View

South Florida’s iconic waterfront dining destination for close to 40 years is set to reopen this coming November after having undergone a $7 million renovation. President and CEO of Specialty Restaurants Corporation John Tallichet recently announced Michael Gilligan as executive chef of the completely reconceptualized state-of-the-art space.

The 43-year-old English native boasts a well-rounded resume, from apprenticing at Michelin-starred restaurants in France and England, to occupying high profile positions in New York City before opening his own critically acclaimed Candela in 1997. Gilligan has spent the last seven years carving a niche for himself in South Beach at the likes of Rumi, Conrad Miami and most recently as executive chef at the W South Beach Hotel & Residences.

The new Pelican is set to give off an energetic, contemporary vibe and is catered towards anything from a family dinner to a business lunch. “I am currently at work creating a new straightforward Modern American menu that mirrors the clean, modern look and vibe of the new Rusty Pelican,” says Gilligan. The mainly seafood oriented menu, “will revolve around fresh local ingredients to create dishes that will become instant classics – but with a twist. There will be a lot of fun elements on this menu – like small plates that are great for sharing.”

The venue boasts a trendy bar and lounge that features a wide selection of microbrews, wines by the glass, signature cocktails and bottle service. Most exciting is a wine cellar that displays a carefully curated selection of 1,500 vintages. The restaurant’s second floor is dedicated to a convertible ballroom space that can accommodate up to 500 people.

With a new look, a new chef and sprawling views available on its outdoor patios, the Rusty Pelican doesn’t sound quite so rusty.

To book events for the holidays and beyond contact the on-premises catering sales office at 305-361-1818. The Rusty Pelican is located at 3201 Rickenbacker Causeway in Key Biscayne, Florida.