A Beaker is a vessel used by bartenders to mix drinks. A Gray spoon is a high quality utensil used for plating and serving. Both are tools used by industry professionals who place emphasis on the quality of their product.
Beaker & Gray is a collaboration between Executive Chef Brian Nasajon and Bar Manager Ben Potts.
Having grown up together, Brian and Ben shared a vision of creating a fertile environment for a team that works with them, not for them. They believe that their commitment to their staff will encourage their staff’s commitment to Beaker & Gray and its guests.
Ben Potts, bar manager/co-owner of Wynwood’s newest eatery and purlieu Beaker & Gray, is a native Miamian who began working in bars in 2009 when he left the world of investment banking after he had a change of heart. Since then he has been selected twice as one of the Top 10 Bartenders in Miami by the Miami New Times and nominated for Best Bartender in the city by Eater.
Starting his career at Purdy Lounge, his favorite bar, Potts fell in love with the Miami nightlife scene. Moving from bar back to bartender and finally manager, he realized there was much more to learn about bartending and the art of crafting a great cocktail.
In 2012, Potts migrated to Blackbird Ordinary where he honed his cocktail knowledge, learning how to mix libations for a high volume crowd. In 2013, he was appointed to training and education manager for the three bars in the bar group, where he produced the bars’ training manuals and maintained quality standards.
Potts also worked at South Florida’s acclaimed and highly awarded Broken Shaker, where he continued to experiment with new and hard-to-obtain ingredients. During his time there, Potts explored new techniques and infusion methods and began crafting cocktails on demand to match guests’ flavor profiles.
In 2014, Potts partnered with longtime friend Chef Brian Nasajon to help create Beaker & Gray’s bar program. With a blend of contemporary styles, Potts uses fresh ingredients, house-made products, and an interesting selection of back-bar spirits to create exciting libations. His bar program will align with Nasajon’s vision of approachable refined dishes. The easy-to-navigate bar menu will be divided into three key sections – Shaken, Stirred and Strange; each utilizing descriptors such as #herbal, #complex, or #tropical, demystifying craft cocktails and encouraging even novice drinkers to become adventurous.
A Miami native, Brian Nasajon was born into a family where a love of food and an appreciation of culinary arts were household values. Exposed to global flavors as a young boy, Nasajon’s favorite memories include observing his grandfather’s every move as he expertly grilled asado – a staple of any Uruguayan household. “We had chefs and serious cooks in the family,” says Nasajon of those early years. “Great food was the center of our lives so it became almost instinctual for me as a kid. Later, it seemed obvious that cooking professionally would be my life.”
Be that as it may, he was pursuing a degree in Philosophy at New York University when he embraced kitchen life. Right after graduating, he decided to leave the academic world to begin his true vocation. His first stop: a one-year apprenticeship under acclaimed Joshua Capon at the chef’s wildly popular Lure Fishbar in Manhattan. One week in and Nasajon knew the kitchen was truly where he belonged.
A Miamian at heart, Nasajon returned to his roots in 2009 where he got his first paying job as line cook at the critically acclaimed restaurant Wish at The Hotel of South Beach. There, he sharpened his skills and dove deep into the arts and sciences of flavor development, menu creation and dish composition. Nasajon would go on to fill the role of Sous Chef and eventually became the restaurant’s Chef de Cuisine in 2011.
In late 2011, Nasajon joined SUSHISAMBA as Executive Sous Chef of their Miami Beach location, where he explored the brand’s fusion cuisine of Brazil, Japan and Peru. Nasajon took a special interest in flavor combinations and, in time, became Executive Chef of both Sushisamba locations in Miami Beach and Coral Gables.
Now, backed by the support of his family, Nasajon embraces a new role as chef/owner of Beaker & Gray. With complete creative control, Nasajon’s vision is to offer diners a “tapas-style” global ingredients-driven menu that will elevate dishes giving them a unique spin in a fun, approachable environment.
A graduate of Cornell University, Benjamin Appelbaum brings an unbridled passion for all things culinary to his new role as General Manager at Beaker & Gray. Appelbaum’s gastronomic appreciation began in his birthplace of New Orleans, where he embraced the unique sights, sounds and cuisines of the iconic food town.
Appelbaum got his foot in the restaurant door during his high school years, where he took up jobs as a dishwasher, garde manger and line cook at several St. Paul, Minnesota restaurants. After graduating from Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration in 2005, he began his career at the contemporary American chain J. Alexander’s. The young man assumed the role as manager of their Atlanta location, and at age 24, became the youngest general manager in the company’s history.
Appelbaum migrated to Florida in 2009 to oversee J. Alexander’s Plantation location, where he revamped the kitchen operations, oversaw the modernization of the restaurant’s façade, and eventually grew the Plantation store to the highest grossing location in the company.
Now, he joins the Beaker & Gray team – co-owners Brian Nasajon and Ben Potts – to oversee every aspect of operations. As general manager of Wynwood’s newest hotspot, Appelbaum aims to deliver, in the front of the house, the same excellence and innovation Nasajon and Potts will bring to its food and drink.