Joey's is a modern Italian cafe that opened December 1 at 2506 NW Second Ave. It is the first restaurant in the Wynwood Cafe District, a 14-square-block area that city commissioners approved in July. Miami leaders hope it will transform the arts district into something much more.

I spoke to co-owner Thea Goldman about the monumental nature of what they're doing and where they're doing it. Here's some of what she had to say.

"It's extraordinary. All our pasta is made from scratch every day right here in Wynwood. (Our chef) Ivo Mazzon is here bright and early every morning with his pasta machine. We created  a menu to attract everyone. If we don't have the starving artists eating here, then we don't deserve to be here. I mean look, (points to menu), we made everything in two sizes. Where else can you get a spaghetti pomodoro for five dollars. And our pizza, the dough uses the best Italian flour, the sauce, beautiful cheese. We have a sirloin steak for sixteen dollars. I go to Europe...London and France, and working people at lunch, they have their wine and steak, we need protein, that's what we're doing.

Joey's In The Wood

"We have the most interesting clientele...the starving artists, the

patrons of the arts, the real estate people, the suits from Brickell,

they're sick of the Mary Brickell Village, it's not cool.
We have the old Puerto Ricans from the neighborhood and the Koreans who

still own a lot of the buildings, and they all want to see each other.

"We do urban restoration, we don't come into the neighborhood and say

Joey's is here get outta the way, we hire from the neighborhood, our

staff is local, I mean they have to learn the difference between peccorino (a cheese) and prosecco (a wine), but they're doing it, and

they want to do it. Now we can feed and water the neighborhood. We want

to create an oasis of culture, food and wine. There's a passion here.

Our chef Ivo is here 16 hours a day, and when he's not here, he's

dreaming up his next menu."

"My husband Joey, when he was 5 or

6 years old, his father opened the first nightclub in a part of New

York called SOHO, it was The Green Street Cafe, do you think he was

going to school, no he was there at the club watching it all happen

from the third story, the artists ate for free, they traded their work

for food, and now it's the second generation of that, we're here in

Miami and we have a son, Jake, and we're doing it all over."

"We have free valet, security, the police are providing so much security,  the Mayor cut our ribbon for us, we invite you."

--Jacob Katel

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