Buns & Buns is the only fast-casual restaurant to compete on Bravo's culinary competition, Best New Restaurant, but don't call it that. "Gastro fast. That's what we call it," says owner Alex Zibi, adding he's not aware of any other restaurant that follows the same concept -- or uses that name. "I invented that term, and it's already in the process of being trademarked."
Indeed, a search confirms that a trademark request was been filed for the term "gastro fast" by Buns & Buns in February 2015 -- just in case you were planning to open a restaurant.
Zibi says that being the only "gastro fast" restaurant on the Bravo competition series didn't intimidate him or his executive chef, Reuven Sugarman. "Reuven was amazing. He's full of energy and really pumped up over the experience. You can't get any better than having your restaurant spotlighted in the international arena."
South Miami's Buns & Buns is also the only Bravo restaurant to be located far from the crowds of midtown and South Beach, though that fact doesn't seem to affect the restaurant's popularity. Zibi says the restaurant is doing extremely well, adding, "People like the fact that they can get a meal that's so healthy and well prepared for under $20. Gastro fast is the way you should be eating."
Though Zibi is under Bravo's gag order not to reveal the outcome of tonight's episode, he did share that overall, the experience was a positive one. "I learned a lot. It teaches you how well you react under pressure -- and there's a lot of pressure in filming a show like this. Overall, this is a great feeling. If I had to do it over again, I would."
Buns & Buns takes on Morgan's BBQ in Brooklyn tonight at 10 in an episode titled "Fast Casual Dining." Buns & Buns will host a watch party tonight, with specials beginning at 6 p.m. Cocktails, wine, and beer cost just $4, and a meal of spinach poofs and pork belly, served with two steamed buns, or Thai shrimp, spinach poofs, and two steamed buns are $18 each.
So far, three Miami restaurants have advanced to the next round of the show, with the Federal Food Drink and Provisions, Dolce Italian, and Tongue & Cheek making the cut. Wynwood's R House was eliminated from the competition.
Follow us on Facebook at Miami New Times Food & Drink.