Versace's Mansion Rebranded As The Villa By Barton G.
The South Beach home of the still-missed Gianni Versace is being be relaunched as an elegant restaurant. In the years since Versace's death the lavish mansion has been used as a private club, boutique hotel and restaurant. Recently the home known as Casa Casuarina was caught in the crossfire of the Scott Rothstein scandal. Rothstein, who is part owner of the property, was accused of swindling investors in a Ponzi scheme which took in hundreds of millions of dollars.
Now there's a new man at the helm. Barton G. Weiss, a flamboyant Florida foodie with several restaurants running under his Barton G. brand. Weiss has signed a 10-year lease to take over the property and as he tells the Sun-Sentinel he wants to bring a new era of elegance back to the mansion as well as adding some excitement. After all, this is a man who used a live giraffe to open his restaurant, Prelude and serves macaroni and cheese in a mousetrap at another restaurant.
Casa Casuarina will still operate as a 10-room hotel with guests paying hundreds of dollars a night to stay in a home that once played host to Madonna and many other celebrities. Versace's private suite rents for over $5,000 a month. Butlers will serve guests private breakfast and lunch. The 70-person restaurant opens to the public with an afternoon English tea. Reservations are required for dinner and bring your wallet, a rack of lamb with Greek yogurt jelly costs $48 and a cream of white asparagus soup costs $13.
Peter Loftin, a telecommunications tycoon who owns the property through a company called Casa Casuarina LLC, closed the mansion in November just three months after announcing a new partnership with Rothstein. Rothstein wanted to bring in a nightclub and an upscale Italian restaurant. His 10 percent share is now owned by the government as he awaits trial. The Sun-Sentinel reports that Loftin has a $25 million mortgage on the property.Weiss claims to have already spent more than $1 million in repairs and cleaning, bringing back the opulence to Versace's gilded palace. A Barton G. flag now hangs outside the mansion. In a video for the Miami Herald, Barton G. Weiss says that what Versace did for fashion, he does for food, taking decadence to the edge of good taste.