|Openings and Closings: An Ominous Balance|
|Written by Pamela Robin Brandt - BT Contributor|
Food news we know you can use
As old-time miners used canaries to test dwindling oxygen, economists use restaurants as first indicators of upcoming recessions. When eateries die, the rest of the economy often follows.
Since Dish started a year ago, the national restaurant scene has grown bleaker, but Miami eateries, at least in BT territory, have seemed almost immune. Not last month, when closings equaled openings. And some closings were shockers.
The Cypress Room (3220 NE 2nd Ave., 305-520-5197) is a new/old Florida fine dining venue from Michael Schwartz, though the guy actually cooking is chef de cuisine Roel Alcudia. See our Dining Guide’s “New This Month” section for info.
My Ceviche (1250 S. Miami Ave., 305-960-7825) is a new Brickell branch of the Beach original. Again, see the Dining Guide for details. One timely additional tip: Chef Sam Gorenstein’s business partner Roger Duarte, of George Stone Crab, supplies My Ceviche’s claws -- which are fresh, never frozen. And season ends May 15, so hurry over or wait till October.
Stanzione 87 (87 SW 8th St., 305-555-1212) produces Neapolitan pizzas -- not uncommon nowadays, but 23-year-old proprietor Franco Stanzione’s are Miami’s only pies certified authentic by Naples’s Associazone Verace Pizza Napolitana, and following its rules (including wood-burning oven, cooking time not exceeding 90 seconds, properly light dough using tipo 00 flour, and more).
Time for Wine (2200 NE 2nd Ave., 786-409-4898), a mom-and-pop wine bar/market, brings a boost to a still decidedly ungentrified Wynwood street with cool décor, limited but tasty tapas, $4 glasses of house wine, an extensive selection of affordable bottles (most under $15), and free parking.
TIKL, opened last August by the team behind South Beach’s long-lived Altamare, has closed despite critical acclaim when it opened this past August. Chef Simon Stojanovic (a Michael’s Genuine alum who brilliantly reinvented Altamare’s menu in 2010) cited “lack of momentum.” Perhaps even the Brickell Boom couldn’t support yet another raw bar/grill. Stovanovic is considering future plans while cooking at Copperbox.
South Street, a “neo-soul-food” restolounge from Amir Ben-Zion and Amaris Jones that opened with much ballyhoo in Sra. Martinez’s former space last October, has folded without explanation. My guess: A South Beach nightclub ambiance may draw Kardashians, but neighborhood residents, most restaurants’ mainstay, prefer their soul food old-school, and without the South Beach prices.
Acme Bakery & Coffee in Midtown has also closed after only nine months. A press release from Pious Pig, the endlessly inventive group also behind The Federal Food, Drink & Provisions (5132 Biscayne Blvd., 305-758-9559), mentioned the café’s main weaknesses and strengths (poor service, great bread), plus its overhead. You must sell a lot of loaves to cover a $10,000 monthly lease.
Clive’s Café in Wynwood, for 38 years a magnet for lovers of homey Jamaican specialties, has folded. Reason: landlord gentrification plans. Fortunately owner Pearline Murray has regrouped at Clive’s II (5890 NE 2nd Ave., 305-757-6512), merging the original’s breakfast/lunch menu with junior’s mainly lunch/dinner menu.
Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop (2830 NE 2nd Ave., 305-573-4681) is closed only temporarily. An April 10 electrical fire damaged the beloved Cuban café, but not seriously. Owner José Luis Pla hopes to reopen later this month.
Tired of pubcrawls? Try a Dishcrawl. Already established in nearly 200 North American cities, crawls feature feasts at four restaurants per night. Last month’s inaugural Miami Dishcrawl hit Edge Steak + Bar, Vapiano, The Hoxton, and OTC. The next, on May 21, also focuses on Brickell. Restaurants are kept secret, but tickets are only $45. Reserve at www.dishcrawlmiami.com.
Soon to join Feverish Pops in moving from food truck to stationary eatery: Ms. Cheezious, whose grilled-cheese sandwiches won the 2013 South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s trucks event in Wynwood. Ms. Cheezious plans a December opening at 7418 Biscayne Blvd. -- and to keep on truckin’, too.
Volume 12, Issue 12, February 2015
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