Chef Michael Schwartz likes bringing people together. Whether its over a pizza-and-salad pairing at Harry's Pizzeria or grabbing a colorfully designed doughnut at Ella, Schwartz has mastered the art of food and friends.
Now Schwartz, creator of the Genuine Hospitality Group, which owns and operates popular eateries such as Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Ella, and Harry's Pizzeria, is taking his eats and drinks outside. In collaboration with the Miami Design District, Schwartz will launch a culinary event series, celebrating all things food and culture, for the summer.
"We're always looking at ways to bring the neighborhood together," he says. "When Ella opened last year in Palm Court, it's like we inherited a new, beautiful front lawn. It was time to collaborate on something fun with the Design District to enjoy."
The Genuine Summer Series debuts tonight inside the Design District's Palm Court, adding an innovative spin to traditional outdoor summer pastimes like grilling and picnicking. Though Miami boasts an overabundance of outdoor events, Schwartz says there's no such thing as having too many Miami-style alfresco soirees.
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"There are never enough," he says. "We wanted to make sure to offer a variety of events at different price points so people feel like they can join us for the entire series and always experience something new."
The series includes three events, from movies to beer gardens. Schwartz and his team have found ways to cater to friends and families, young and old.
Enjoy an outdoor grill session paired with wine varieties, with a focus on Rieslings, thanks to Wines of Germany. The evening will begin with a cocktail hour, along with small passed bites including crispy short rib, slow-roasted pork pizza slices, ricotta crostini, ceviche, and deviled eggs. A three-course seated dinner will follow on communal, farm-style tables. Menu items include Florida mangoes topped with torn herbs, bean sprouts, peanuts, nuoc cham vinaigrette, and fried onions; leg of lamb served family-style with potatoes; and grilled peaches with dessert, served with crème fraîche and topped with Florida honey, pistachios, and thyme. As you nosh, Marcus Grant's Mutes & Roots jazz trio will provide live music. Dinner runs from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 9. It's priced at $85 per person.
Picnic and a Movie Pairing
Along with O Cinema, Schwartz will host dinner and a movie in July. The evening will feature a sunset screening of the not-yet-released documentary Search for Israeli Cuisine, which will inspire the night's eats and drinks pairings. Three food stations will offer plates such as house-made pita bread with hummus, marinated vegetables, Israeli salad, and tabbouleh; kefte sandwiches with yogurt sauce and cilantro on a potato bun; and chicken and grilled vegetable kebabs with parsley sauce and pickled onions. After dinner, snack on Israeli-spiced popcorn. Pair Schwartz's fare with his signature cocktails, rosé, and beer offerings. The event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, July 8. It costs $65 per person.
Genuine Beer Court
Schwartz's last event will be a first for the Design District: an outdoor beer garden accompanied by lawn games, giveaways, and the chef's house-made Chex mix. Brews from a bevy of local breweries will be complemented by a variety of food stations serving eats such as sausage and onion hoagies with Dijon mustard and sauerkraut; broccoli rabe pizza with chilies and garlic; and miniburgers with secret sauce, shredded lettuce, and extra cheese. The event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, August 12. It's priced at $55 per person.
All events are 21 and older and take place in the Design District's Palm Court (140 NE 39th St., Miami). Parking validation is available for the Palm Court Garage. All tickets are available online in advance or on-site the day of, based on availability. Those who want to attend all three events may purchase a package at a discounted price of $200, which is 15 percent off the regular price. Guests who purchase this ticket will automatically be added to each event guest list for check-in at the door.