The dues are virtual, but the food is real.
That’s the way it is at Vinyl Fish Club in downtown West Palm Beach, a private-membership restaurant slated to debut in October but already hosting culinary pop-up events under the moniker “Motel No-Tell.”
The venue, formerly the Kurafuto restaurant, is being billed as “South Florida’s first NFT membership restaurant” by the triumvirate of owners: Mykel Stevens (nightlife impresario), Uthman “Moose” Yamusenor (restaurateur) and Jaclyn Milford (founder of the Women of Wall Street organization).
For the uninitiated, NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. The NFT, in this case a digital art purchase, is stored in a blockchain, the database that encrypts and authenticates NFTs. The Fish Club’s current collaboration is with Miami-based artist Miguel Paredes, no stranger to crypto currency himself.
“It’s about bringing like-minded people into the space,” explains Milford, who divides her time between New York City and West Palm Beach. “You have art collectors. You have investors. It’s like a social membership.
“You get benefits, which are a social club membership for the restaurant, where you get an elevated dining experience. It would be the same as having a social club membership for any restaurant, but since it is an NFT, it means that it’s an investable token, which means essentially you are investing in a membership that could earn you money … It’s like this is the new era of membership for people.”
At press time, 18 NFTs have been sold, leaving 32 lifetime memberships available. The price fluctuates slightly, but recently a membership cost $1,621.92.
You do not have to be a member to go to Vinyl Fish Club when it opens, but membership will get you invites to celebrity chef appearances, Japanese whiskey/sake tastings, access to a private after-hours lounge, as well as the usual perks of a private club (such as members-only events and menus, reservations via concierge).
The partners are doing the decor themselves for the space, with seating for about 100 people inside and 50 outside.
“We did everything. It was like, ‘We like this, we like that.’ We just brought it all together,” Milford says. “I think that’s what makes it special because it’s sort of our brains were sort of flipped inside out.”
Milford and Stevens met about 10 years ago when they were both launching and promoting Stache Drinking Den in Fort Lauderdale’s Himmarshee Village. While looking for a West Palm Beach location, the two met Yamusenor, who was looking to sell the space that housed his restaurant Kurafuto. Yamusenor liked the pair’s new concept so much that he signed on as a partner.
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The name Vinyl Fish Club refers to some serious attention being paid to the restaurant’s audiovisual elements, with the mod lounges and dining room interior design built around their sound system.
“We’re spinning records, it’ll be vinyl records,” Milford says. “So it’s really taking you back to a nostalgic, vintage feel.”
That’s the “vinyl” part of the name. The “fish” part comes from the sushi-forward theme in the cuisine concept.
Milford explains that the restaurant will have an eclectic menu, including omakase (a form of Japanese dining in which the chef selects the dishes). The executive chef is Kazuo Yoshida, who is known as the “Sushi Boss” by the smart set in New York City and The Hamptons.
And while West Palm Beach attracted a lot of people in the finance sector and the tech industry during the pandemic, that is not the main reason the trio chose the city for their first joint effort.
“That’s definitely a huge advantage to us,” Milford says. “When we first decided to incorporate, we were just thinking of how can we create something really special for the area. [But] it is really a benefit for people to understand finance. It’s really that the whole area is booming right now.
“We love that restaurant scene, so community driven,” she adds. “That is really one of the key points of being here. It is people are very loyal in West Palm and very family-oriented. And our concept is exactly that. It’s about bringing the community into our space. You know, people that want to experience a cultural moment.”
- Vinyl Fish Club is at 340 Clematis St. in West Palm Beach’s The Blackstone Building.
- Until the restaurant opens, the pop-up dinners are offered from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. The pop-ups are open to everyone with a reservation. Make a reservations by emailing RSVP@VinylFishClub.com or visiting VinylFishClub.com.