Cena by Michy Closes After Lease Negotiation Falls Through

Just two months after Michelle Bernstein celebrated a decade of restaurant life at her beloved Cena by Michy, the restaurant has shuttered for good.

Rumors began flying about the restaurant's imminent closure as early as last week, though it was open for business this past weekend. Bernstein and her partner/husband, David Martinez, were in lease negotiations with their landlord, hoping for a last-minute reprieve until today, but apparently talks went south.
The restaurant is officially closed as of today, with workers busily pulling equipment from the kitchen. A stove, piled high with pans, looked forlorn in the restaurant's parking lot, and a freezer waited on the sidewalk, casualties of the closure. A peek into the restaurant revealed the space emptied of tables and chairs. 
In a statement, Martinez acknowledged the closure of the restaurant that was well loved by Miamians for ten years. “We’ve had an amazing run and are very proud of the legacy we’ve created. With a heavy heart, we have made the decision to close the restaurant, but it is time to move on. We’re exploring and developing other concepts.”

Bernstein, via email, simply said, "We are heartbroken, angry, sad, amazed..."

Taking a leap of faith in a storefront on Biscayne Boulevard, Bernstein and Martinez opened Michy's in 2006. The couple doubled down on the still-gentrifying MiMo District by purchasing a house at the same time. The gamble paid off, with locals and tourists flocking to Bernstein's eponymous eatery for the chef's signature dishes, such as short rib and summer fried chicken dinners.

The success of the little restaurant helped catapult Bernstein to national fame, with appearances on various Food Network shows and Top Chef. Bernstein also took Anthony Bourdain on an eating tour of Miami in a segment of his award-winning TV show Parts Unknown.

Michy's kickstarted the careers of Miami barman extraordinaire Julio Cabrera and Michy's first sommelier, Allegra Angelo, as well as a host of talented toques who began in Bernstein's kitchen. 
Of course, times change, and in June 2014, Michy's closed for a complete rework. In 2015, it opened under a new moniker, Cena by Michy, and tapped Mike Mayta as its chef de cuisine. Together, they proved a formidable duo. According to New Times food critic Zachary Fagenson, "classic primary ingredients are plated with simple yet ingenious flavor combinations that smartly accent each dish while mirroring Miami's complexity and nuance."

In spring of 2016, Bernstein parted ways with Seagrape at the Thompson Miami Beach after Hyatt Hotels & Resorts purchased the property.

Until we hear of new projects on the horizon, Miami can still get a taste of Chef Bernstein's food at her casual Design District spot, Crumb on Parchment, which is unaffected by the closing of Cena by Michy.
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss