Chefs landing on Biscayne Corridor to feed growing population
By Risa Polansky
As the Biscayne Corridor continues to be developed, chefs are working to offer residents and businesspeople what they hope will become dining hotspots.
"We wanted to have a place for people to go," said Michael Schwartz of Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, which opened last month at 130 NE 40th St. "I felt the area was ready for something like what we did."
He and wife Tamara created "a great neighborhood restaurant with great food" for "people who live here, work here, want an alternative," he said.
The contemporary bistro seats 90 indoors and outdoors and serves American cuisine, much of it organic.
The restaurant's appeal, Mr. Schwartz said, is that it offers homemade food in an up-and-coming neighborhood.
Formerly owner of Nemo on Miami Beach, Mr. Schwartz said the Design District's location is ideal for a restaurateur looking for a change from South Beach while remaining appealing to Beach visitors and residents.
He called the area an "extension of the neighborhood" because of its proximity and similar vibe.
Nearness to South Beach and its hotels as well as hotels on the Biscayne Corridor and downtown means "potential growth for business," said Michael Jacobs, a former South Beach chef at Tantra now running the kitchen at Grass, 28 NE 40th St.
The 90-seat restaurant, which reopened under new ownership this month after eight months of renovations, has "got to be a home run" this go-round, Mr. Jacobs said, as "the Design District has so much to offer right now" and is becoming "a serious dining and nightlife destination."
Grass and Michael's offer happy hours and lounge settings, keeping late-night weekend hours to attract visitors to the area's local galleries and clubs.
"You don't have to do anything, you just have to be open" to attract diners on Gallery Nights, the second Friday of every month, Mr. Jacobs said.
And during the day, Mr. Schwartz said, "there's lots of people who work and shop here."