The Blind Butcher culinary experience elevates dining at Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana

To access the newly debuted The Blind Butcher culinary experience at Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic, you must first pass through a fridge door that serves as the secret entryway to the new dining concept. 

From the exterior, the entrance is made to look like an unassuming butcher shop but upon stepping inside you will be transported into a mystical jungle-like setting complete with a giant giraffe, monkeys hanging from lights and a live acrobat dangling from the ceiling.

“We wanted to create something different — not only having a restaurant. The food items are really, really high quality but we don’t want it to be called a fine-dining experience,” said Pedro Tomas, general manager of Hyatt Zilara & Ziva Cap Cana. “It’s disruptive, it’s fun, it has a lot of vibe, it’s sexy. That’s the whole idea of why you are in a butcher place and then you open a fridge and all of a sudden you have a giraffe in your face when you get in. You don’t expect when you open the fridge that you are going to find what you find. When you get in it’s a little bit Amazon-like, it’s like a jungle, it’s fun.”

Inspired by the concept of blending entertainment and food & beverage but taking it to the next level, Tomas was part of a group of staff members who travelled around the world to places like Vegas, Barcelona and New York City for research for The Blind Butcher.

“In all of those restaurants, the common denominator was that the ambiance was amazing but the food wasn’t very good. We didn’t want that to happen here,” he said. “In some places the entertainment was so constant that you didn’t get a break to talk. Here, the entertainment is every 10-15 minutes so you’re eating, you have some nice things happening around you, then the lights turn on again and you can chat.”

In the early stages, he said Playa Hotels & Resorts CEO Bruce Wardinski agreed to back the endeavour if it went beyond being simply a restaurant.

“He said: I want a concept. I want something different that I can say to the hospitality world that we have something different that no one else has,” he said. “Right now, out of 20 all inclusive resorts, you are not going to find an offer like that.”

Taking its name from a legendary chef who connected with nature and the fruits of the earth in South America after an accident left him blind, The Blind Butcher is the first culinary offering at Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana that has a surcharge for guests. The experience — complete with elevated cocktails and offerings like lobster and steak — is US$149 p.p.

“We wanted to provide a journey through South America. We believe South America is really rich in flavours but at the same time very different,” he said. “In the menu all of our international chefs were the ones who developed the ideas. For example, the Peruvian chef that we have was responsible for the Peruvian side.”

While the quality of the food is elevated, Tomas said the idea is to provide a dining experience without the stuffiness and protocols that can be associated with high-end restaurants. 

“You are going to eat even better food than you will eat at a fine-dining restaurant but it’s going to be served with music, with a show that’s happening one metre away from you,” he said. “The food is superior but it takes away all the pressure that you will find in a fine-dining [environment].”

And while the menu and entertainment are notable, the mixology offerings served in unique glassware with visually interesting elements like bubbles and smoke are also worthy of the spotlight.

“It’s really disruptive — it’s an experience — you are going to want to take pictures,” he said. 

Since Hyatt Zilara & Ziva Cap Cana opened in 2019, he said the resorts have set a high bar in terms of their food and beverage offerings. 

“We already have the fame of having good quality of the food in the all inclusive segment,” he added. “We are going into our fifth year of operation and we knew we had to do something different for the community and travel to get excited about. It was like 2.5 years ago that we started thinking about doing it and the final idea came together 16 months ago… We didn’t do it with the whole purpose of making money. The hotel was really healthy financially talking. When we did it, the purpose was experience. We wanted to create an experience.”

And for anyone wondering what the space was used for before at the resort, The Blind Butcher area was previously conference rooms. Hands-down this is a better — and more entertaining — use of space!

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