Part of a fast-growing restaurant group in South Florida, Bocas House serves Latin flavors along with over-the-top milkshakes. We talked with co-owner and chef Levin de Grazia about how it all comes together in true culinary harmony.
If you had to describe Bocas House in just a few words, what would they be?
Bocas House is Latin, innovative and a family. We have lots of Latin flavors representing several different countries and cultures. We also brought the big-milkshake trend to Miami. And of course,
What are the milkshakes like at Bocas House?
We serve these extra-big milkshakes called “freakshakes.” We didn’t invent the trend, but we’ve embraced it. When we opened the first Bocas House in Doral (Florida), we introduced our Nutella milkshake, which is topped with a Nutella brownie, brownie truffle, a big scoop of ice cream and more Nutella. When it hit Instagram, it went viral. People who posted a picture of their milkshake would get thousands of likes. Pretty soon, we had a line out the door, with people waiting two hours just to try our milkshake. Today, we have five flavors, plus seasonal ones that rotate throughout the year.
What are some of your signature dishes?
The ceviches are really popular, and a great way to sample Latin cuisine. The mac and cheese is also a big deal. We have one right now that features slow-cooked short rib on a bed of macaroni with a four-cheese blend. It’s just ridiculous.
What’s the “right” way to enjoy a meal at Bocas House?
Bring friends! You have to bring a lot of people. The portions here are pretty big, and you are going to want to have a milkshake, so you’ll need some people to help finish everything.
How does the menu change throughout the year?
We make seasonal milkshakes that rotate throughout the year and are only available for a couple of weeks at a time: We have a summer milkshake. This year, we had a World Cup milkshake, and for the holidays, we go hard. We’ll do a Halloween milkshake, a Thanksgiving milkshake, a Christmas milkshake and an end-of-the-year milkshake. We sometimes also partner with bloggers, so there’ll be times when we do a special themed milkshake to go along with a certain blogger.
What inspired you to open Bocas House?
The Bocas Grill, one of our sister restaurants, opened first and primarily focused on Venezuelan cuisine. In 2016, the owners decided they wanted to do something a little different, so we opened Bocas House. We wanted a spot that was a little more upscale, somewhere we could experiment a little more. That first year is when we debuted the milkshakes, and things went nuts from there. Since that first Bocas House opened in Weston, we have opened one in Doral and our biggest location in Coral Gables. Altogether, now there are three Bocas Houses, three Bocas Grills and two Bocas Grill & Bars.
What items do you typically source from Sysco?
We source a lot from Sysco—nearly everything. Probably about 90 percent of what we buy, from meat to napkins to cleaning products, all comes from Sysco. A lot of our beef that comes from Sysco is sourced from the Orlando area, where we recently opened one of our newest locations, so it’s great to have that local connection.
How has Sysco been an integral partner in your success?
If we couldn’t get everything we do from Sysco, I don’t know what we would do. We’ve been able to grow as aggressively as we have thanks to the money we’ve saved by working together. With plans to continue opening new locations, it’s essential to have a partner we can trust to provide quality products at a good price.