The exciting South Florida outpost of chef Justin Smillie’s smash-hit New York City restaurant, Upland introduces his California-inspired culinary philosophy to Miami Beach’s chic South of Fifth neighborhood. Balancing a familiar rusticity with a smart global approach, the dynamic, sophisticated space takes style cues from its northern sibling, while still working in subtle nods to its coastal surroundings. The menu offers an artful array of starters, pizzas, entrees and sides, each plate accented with chef Smillie’s enticing and urbane touch. The wine program matches the excitement coming out of Upland’s kitchen, with a worldly bottle list and a clever by-the-glass selection that’s remarkably food-friendly.
Chef Justin Smillie
Chef Justin Smillie was born in Upland, California, but raised in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. Since both areas are rural, Smillie has long been inspired by the rugged elements of the great outdoors, from camping and fly-fishing to foraging for wild ingredients. He began his culinary career at the age of 17 at Bernards Inn under chef Edward Stone. Two years on the line was all it took for him to get hooked; he’d go on to enroll at the Culinary Institute of America, where he rounded out his culinary education.
After the CIA, Smillie worked under Jean-Georges Vongerichten at Mercer Kitchen, followed by posts at Danny Meyer's Gramercy Tavern and Jonathan Waxman's Washington Park. Smillie next earned a chef position at Waxman's Barbuto, and in the six years he spent there, he fell in love with the restaurant’s philosophy of bold flavors and classic techniques.
In 2010, chef Daniel Silverman invited Smillie to help open Andre Balaz's The Standard in New York, where he would work winters, followed by two summers as executive chef of Balaz's Sunset Beach on Shelter Island. Smillie was later introduced to Il Buco owner Donna Lennard, who tapped him as executive chef of Italian trattoria Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria, which earned three stars from The New York Times.
In 2014, Smillie and Stephen Starr decided to collaborate on a new restaurant. At Upland, Smillie pays tribute to all his inspirations, offering dishes that showcase his California roots and rustic culinary sensibilities. Since opening Upland, Smillie has received critical acclaim from outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Saveur, GQ, The Washington Post, The New Yorker and more. A second outpost of the beloved eatery opened in Miami’s South of Fifth neighborhood in late 2016, recreating the magic of the New York City original for a sophisticated South Florida audience.
In November 2015, Justin Smillie released his first cookbook, Slow Fires: Mastering New Ways to Braise, Roast, and Grill. Published by Clarkson Potter, the book explores the fundamentals of braising, roasting and grilling — and how to see them in new ways.
Born in rural California and raised in rural New Jersey, chef Justin Smillie has long been inspired by the rugged elements of the great outdoors, from camping and fly-fishing to foraging for wild ingredients. It’s a mentality that informs the approach at Upland, his hit collaboration with Stephen Starr. The restaurant, with locations in both New York City and Miami, showcases Smillie’s California roots and rustic culinary sensibilities while paying homage to the culinary influences that shaped his point of view.Executive Chef / Owner