North Miami's Mimmo's Mozzarella, Hidden for Years, Bursts into the Open

Mimmo's cheese board for two ($24.99).
Mimmo's cheese board for two ($24.99).
Photo by Zachary Fagenson

Once a month, Bruno Ponce and his three-person team toil for endless hours twisting out thousands of pounds of smooth orbs and knots of fresh mozzarella.

They’re destined for Marky’s Gourmet on NE 79th Street, where they’ll be packed up and dispersed throughout the Caribbean. The rest of the month Ponce, 38, and his crew arrive at 6 a.m. daily to prepare a few hundred pounds of the creamy cheese for delivery to Miami Beach’s Juvia, Caffe Abbracci in Coral Gables, and the Biltmore Hotel.

He’s been at it for seven years, quietly operating out of a nondescript North Miami building mostly filled with walk-in refrigerators and stainless steel work tables. The milk comes from Wisconsin cows and is processed into curd in New Jersey before it’s sent south. Ponce is an Argentine whose grandfather emigrated from Bari on Italy’s Adriatic coast to Buenos Aires. Still, it would be decades until his grandson made a foray into cheese.

Ponce shows off his scamorza.
Ponce shows off his scamorza.
Photo by Zachary Fagenson

Ponce pulled his first curds in warm water nearly a decade ago while working at Sunset Harbour's Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante. In between manning the pizza oven he would help the restaurant’s cheesemaker Mimmo (now his shop’s namesake) turn out the day’s supply. He’s still a mentor, and though now in New York City the two talk regularly to exchange ideas.

“I also spend a lot of time on YouTube,” Ponce says. “You can learn anything on there.”

Seven months ago he added a small storefront and café to his operation. Here, the best way to sample the work of Miami’s best mozzarella man is with a cheeseboard for two ($24.99).

Making mozzarella.
Making mozzarella.
Photo by Zachary Fagenson

Ponce lays out crescents of scamorza, a smoked, aged mozzarella, alongside a sphere of fresh burrata filled with creamy stracciatella cheese and flecks of porcini mushrooms and black truffle. A pinwheel of mozzarella is wrapped around speck and spinach. There are, of course, a few wedges of fresh mozzarella (ask him to grab those warm from the back for you), as well as velvety fresh ricotta and creamy ricotta salata that gathers its must from sheep’s milk.

More important, however, is the fact that Ponce's work is a respite from Publix’s rows of industrial mozzarella. Some people fantasize about American neighborhoods filled with highly specialized bakers, butchers, and cheesemakers each in their own store. Daydreaming is a waste of time when you can walk out of Mimmo’s with a clutch of fresh mozzarella. Don’t forget Proper Sausages is only a short drive away and with those two you’ve got all the makings of a great meal.

Mimmo’s Mozzarella is located at 475 NE 123rd St., North Miami; 305-351-6826.

For more follow Zach on Twitter or Instagram.

Use Current Location

Related Locations

miles
Marky's Gourmet

687 NE 79th St.
Miami, FL 33138

305-758-9288

www.markys.com

miles
Proper Sausages

9722 NE Second Ave.
Miami, FL 33138

786-334-5734

www.propersausages.com

miles
Juvia

1111 Lincoln Rd.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

305-763-8272

www.juviamiami.com

miles
Caffe Abbracci

318 Aragon Ave.
Coral Gables, FL 33134

305-441-0700

www.caffeabbracci.com

miles
The Biltmore

1200 Anastasia Ave.
Coral Gables, FL 33134

305-445-8066

www.biltmorehotel.com

miles
Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante

1801 Purdy Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

305-531-2228

www.sardinia-ristorante.com

miles
Mimmo's Mozzarella Italian Market

473 NE 123rd St.
North Miami, FL 33161

305-351-6826

facebook.com/mimmos.mozzarella


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >