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Miami’s Food Scene Suffers Big Losses PDF Print E-mail
Written by Geoffrey Anderson Jr. and Dianne Rubin, BT Contributors   
April 2018

Pix_Dish_4-18Food news we know you can use

Food news we know you can use

OPix_Dish_4-18ur last column ended on a positive note: We were hopeful that the lack of recent restaurant closures would be an ongoing trend. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

In the past month, Miami’s dining scene was hit hard. Wynwood, Midtown Miami, and other neighborhoods suffered big-name losses, including some surprises. One of the most sudden closures: the Philadelphia-based duo of Federal Donuts and Dizengoff.

Coming off a successful chef takeover event for South Beach Wine & Food Festival, the Michael Solomonov concepts called it quits not too long after the celebration. Social media posts blamed the ongoing construction on the restaurants’ street, and we can confirm that firsthand -- that side of Wynwood was a ghost town day and night.

Another shocker was Proof Miami. The pizza and pasta palace from chef Justin Flit (ex-Bourbon Steak) also announced its departure on Instagram after three and a half years of business. Unlike Dizengoff and Federal Donuts, however, the announcement came with two weeks’ notice. Leading up to its final day of operation, the Midtown restaurant enjoyed huge crowds that clamored for one last taste of Proof’s burger, oxtail pizza, and crab angel hair pasta.

Jugofresh, the Miami juice empire, abruptly shuttered all of its locations, including its stores inside Whole Foods across the city. Long before cold-pressed juices and acai bowls were a thing here, Jugofresh was leading the charge. Owner Matthew Sherman cited a number of reasons for the business decision, such as rising rents and the difficulties of managing perishable products.

Brooklyn pizzeria Roberta’s bade the Design District farewell, too. It completed its temporary run at Palm Court and finished its South Florida visit with a stint at Ultra Music Festival. Customers hoping for a permanent Roberta’s location will need to keep waiting. There are no current plans to open one in Miami.

Finally, Antica Mare in Shorecrest ceased operations and saddened patrons who loved the authentic Italian cuisine. No official reason was given for the closure, but we’re willing to bet that the establishment’s obscure location (but with great al fresco views of Biscayne Bay) was a factor.

 

OPENINGS

Not all news is bad news, though. Several long-awaited concepts are finally open and ready for business -- and that includes one of Miami’s food halls.

St. Roch Market (140 NE 39th St.) in the Design District is off to a successful start with rave reviews for its robust food lineup that includes everything from sushi and fried chicken to seafood and vegan pastries. If you haven’t already, make it a point to visit Itamae for its fresh rolls and rice bowls -- easily some of our favorite bites at the food hall.

Popular Cuban food chain Sergio’s is trying its hand at the fast-casual market with Sergio’s Cuban Café + Grill (1821 NE 123rd St., 305-702-7211) in North Miami. This offshoot puts customers in charge of the menu. Guests can create their own bowls featuring mojo-roasted pork, braised shredded beef, and other Latin staples. And of course, guests can also nosh on Cuban sandwiches and sip on Cuban coffee. More than 20 additional locations are expected to open through Miami-Dade and Broward counties in the coming years.

The former Bocce space in Midtown has a new tenant: Skorpios (3252 NE 1st Ave., 786-329-5905). The pastas of yore have been replaced by Greek and Mediterranean bites like flatbreads, grilled whole octopus, lamb souvlaki, and baklava. Former Mandolin Aegean Bistro chef Erhan Ozkaya is leading the kitchen, which is bolstered by a playful cocktail program.

New York’s Serafina (19565 Biscayne Blvd. #1944, 786-920-0989) at Aventura Mall is another restaurant that has opened to big fanfare. The Italian restaurant’s black truffle pizza and other signature pies have made the trek south, giving patrons many reasons to salivate. This is going to sound weird, but visit the Serafina’s restroom before you leave -- you might see a celebrity. Trust us on this.

Speaking of celebrities and Aventura Mall, Food Network star Ayesha Curry is set to make her mark in the shopping center as well. She’s teaming with chef Michael Mina to open up a barbecue restaurant dubbed International Smoke (19501 Biscayne Blvd.) this summer. Details are sparse at the moment, but guests can expect globally inspired dishes like curried cornbread, smoked burrata, and charcoal-grilled lobster.

 

Geoffrey Anderson Jr. and Dianne Rubin are co-founders of Miami Food Pug, an award-winning South Florida food blog that fuses the couple’s love of dogs and food.

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Last Updated on April 2018
 
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