Mohamed Alkassar

Founding Partner, Alpareno Restaurant Group

Spanish native Mohamed Alkassar began his culinary management career at Maison Blanche in Madrid before working for some of the most recognized hospitality groups in the Middle East. Among other roles, he launched the food & beverage arm of the development company in Qatar responsible for brands such as Mondrian Hotel, Wolfgang Puck, Magnolia Bakery, and Shakespeare & Co. He eventually became the regional operations manager for 40 outlets across the Middle East and North Africa, based in Dubai. He then moved to the U.S. under the advice of his mentor, food & beverage icon Michael Bonadies; landing in Miami, he worked for the Genuine Hospital Group, where he met Chef de Cuisine Niven Patel at Michael’s Genuine in the Design District.

Mohamed Alkassar

Latest Achievement

While working as Chief Operating Officer for NRI, the company that developed Gables Station and Paseo, Alkassar partnered with Chef Patel, who was then launching the Indian restaurant Ghee in Dadeland. Together, they formed the Gables-based Alpareno Restaurant Group, which went on to create Mamey and Orno, both at the THesis Hotel in Paseo. Last year, Mamey was named by the New York Times as one of the 50 best restaurants in the United States. This year, he and Patel were finalists for The James Beard Outstanding Restaurateur award. Alpareno’s next move is to open a new restaurant in the Gables Station building (now the Gables Lifetime building) called Erba. It will be an “Italian-inspired” restaurant with Chef Patel’s unique twists.

What He Says

“I do feel like we are more localized than most of the restaurant groups here. I don’t know anyone else that owns their own farm. So, we have a huge advantage in terms of ingredients. Our competitive edge is the produce, and Italian is all about fresh ingredients. Niven is entrenched in the farming community, so that helps,” he says. “We are not trying to compete with traditional, classic Italian restaurants. We are not white tablecloths…. We are all about the local feel, Old World meets New World. It’s also going to be very bright and fun, with a Miami adaptation.”