When it comes to gastronomy, it seems everyone has tried to concoct a recipe for success. But none have done it as well as the Viejo brothers of Key Biscayne, who have recently launched Andu Restaurant & Lounge in the Brickell Corridor.
Text by David C. Cleland Profile and drink photos by Kate Benson Site and food photos by Mike Butler | July 16, 2018 | People

Although their last name means “old” in Spanish, Antonio and Juan Pablo Viejo’s culinary brainchild is anything but. “We really wanted to create an environment that appeals to discerning, modern aficionados looking for a new kind of experience,” says Antonio of his newly launched 150-seat Andu Restaurant & Lounge right off the Miami River on the ground floor of the Neo Vertika building. “And we think we’ve created just that with this space — and then some.”
But you don’t have to take his word for it, he’ll show you in person. “My brother and I make it a point to meet every single patron that comes in for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner,” says Antonio. “It really helps us to know our clientele and I think they appreciate the personal touch.”
And he’s right. From their hearty signature dishes to their creative appetizers, dips and spreads, homemade flavored vodka, signature cocktails and hefty wine list, it seems that everyone’s tastebuds will be satiated, no matter what they’re looking for. “What I try to accomplish at Andu is an eclectic mesh of Mediterranean cuisine,” says Executive Chef Nate Martin. “I want people to come in and enjoy themselves as well as the food and spirits.” And, says Martin, simplicity yields the most palate-pleasing dishes. “The majority of true diners are tired of stuffy restaurants with the same old haute cuisine,” says Martin. “I believe people are looking for great, clean and simple food that doesn’t sacrifice creativity.”
And that’s just what patrons can expect at Andu — from their charred beef carpaccio cold appetizer and The Best Fries in the Universe (yes, that’s what they’re called) to any one of Andu’s signature dishes, their family-style fare and their four-dessert sampler, everything is worth a taste. “Each dish on our menu is the most popular,” says Juan Pablo. “We’re different than every bar, every lounge and every restaurant in South Florida.”
For lunch, the brothers say they are launching a Mediterranean Lunch Box that will change every day. A daily email with the menu will be sent out to patrons so they know what to expect. Other exciting themed meals include make-your-own bloody mary Sunday brunches and free sangria pitcher nights for ladies on Wednesdays and Fridays.
But perhaps what sets them apart the most is the quality of their diverse staff. Almost every corner of the world is represented here — from Irish mixologist Damien Rivadeneyra to South American, French, Italian and Polish servers and kitchen staff, the list is endless. “The key qualities we look for in our employees are friendliness, honesty and etiquette,” says Juan Pablo. “With those three qualities, success is inevitable…diversity is an added bonus.”
For the décor, the brothers contracted an original Norwegian glassblower for the hanging glass bubble installation in the center dining area as well as revered architects, sculptors and painters to add some vibrant, creative details throughout the space. Additionally, the brothers say they shift the music frequently, depending on the clientele in the restaurant at any given time. “We can go from loungy tunes to bossa nova to oldies from one minute to the next, depending on who walks through the doors,” says Juan Pablo.
Besides the surroundings and great food, another thing that people come to Andu for are the social networking events the brothers host on a regular basis. “We hope that by throwing these sorts of parties for various markets we will be able to establish a varied and far-reaching clientele that will in turn force us to become even more creative with our menu than we already are,” says Antonio. “From young professionals to families and CEOs, we welcome everyone.”
So why the name? “It’s the most frequent question I get from customers,” says server Arthur Kaplun. According to the Viejo brothers, Andu is a gelling of Antonio and Duly, Juan Pablo’s nickname growing up. “Anduly wasn’t iconic enough,” laughs Antonio, “so we decided to go with the more impacting Andu, that way we both got two letters in.”
Another thing they brought in besides both their names was their experiences growing up on Key Biscayne. Their connection to the island dates back to the beginnings of Ocean Club. “We were one of the first residents of Ocean Club and we love it so much that we still live there — our favorite part is the beach and our least favorite part is the speed limit,” laughs Juan Pablo. Antonio adds: “We really brought the vibrancy and boutique feel of Key Biscayne to Andu and that’s something we’re very proud of.”
So if they had to sum up the slogan for Andu in one sentence, what would it be? “It’s my pleasure,” they both echo. “This line resonates from every inch of this establishment.” And judging by the success of the place so far, it seems they’re right.