A sexy, Miami-themed restaurant is opening in Walnut Creek next week

It’s time for rum punch and spicy, jerk-marinated heirloom chicken.

When it opens next week in downtown Walnut Creek, Lita, the latest restaurant from the family behind the city’s Broderick Roadhouse and Lafayette’s Batch & Brine, will specialize in the culinary melting pot of Miami, with strong Caribbean influences in its food and drink programs. Lita is slated to open on Jan. 20 at 1602 Bonanza St., at the base of the Lyric apartment complex.

Until now, the city’s Havana has been the go-to spot for solid mojitos and puerco Cubano, but you’d have to venture to Oakland or Pleasanton for Guyanese pepper pot or oxtail stew. Lita co-owner Sofia Ghaben told the East Bay Times that the restaurant will expand beyond Cuban food, serving “an exciting fusion of the various Caribbean cultures that have migrated to the region over the years,” with a “vibrant atmosphere and locally-sourced ingredients.”

Executive Chef Nick Peters is coming over from Batch & Brine to lead the kitchen. Peters worked with Luis Robinson, a Chef’s Plate 13: Miami winner, and Issac Correa, owner of Sarasota’s Baker & Wife restaurant, to develop the dishes. And while Ghaben is not revealing the menu until the grand opening, she says you can expect a few staples, including that Ventura Heirloom Chicken, a spicy jerk-marinated half heirloom chicken served with a freshly torn herb salad.

There will also be unexpected offerings, like a whole poached Maine lobster tail breaded in cornmeal and served, corn dog-style, with spicy “island” ketchup. For vegans, there’s a Roasted Heirloom Beet Tartare made with marinated beets served in cumin vinaigrette, with charred pineapple, cucumber and beet greens.

A highlight of the drink menu, curated by bar consultant Alex Arriaga, who brings experience from Barranco and Trader Vic’s, is Queen Annne’s Revenge, a take on classic rum punch. The blend of tropical rums is complimented with fresh citrus juices and a splash of housemade Caribbean fassionola made from hibiscus and passion fruit.

And of course it won’t feel like Miami without the right atmosphere. Designer Antoinette Emanuel and her Miami-based team took inspiration from the coastal metropolis’ vibrant nightlife. Look for patched booths emulating purple-hued sunsets and white sand beaches along with a custom infinity mirror wall by Orange County mirror artist Nicky Alice. For more information, visit www.litawalnutcreek.com.

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