Meraki Hospitality has opened Meraki Greek Gyro & Bakery, a casual restaurant that serves authentic Greek fare in South Beach.
Meraki Greek Gyro & Bakery is the third Meraki concept created by co-owners Alexander Karavias and Giannis Kotsos after their success with Meraki Bistro in Coconut Groove and Downtown Miami. This iteration, however, comes with a twist.
"Meraki Greek Gyro is different from Meraki Bistro restaurants," Kotsos tells New Times
. "It emulates street dining in Greece. It's more casual and also offers options that one would find in a bakery for breakfast, and a pastry shop — very common in Greece."
The combination fast-casual gyro, pastry shop, and market was designed specifically for the high traffic of tourists and residents alike in South Beach. Karavias says the cafe was a better option than the typical sit-down Meraki restaurant.
"It ties back to everyday life and everyday eating habits in Greece," Karavias explains. "With the additional market, the pastries and everything. It's also a good way for us to keep growing and keep showcasing other areas of the Greek culinary world and bringing it to the forefront."
This location offers a variety of dishes including typical Greek breakfast snacks such as tyropita, spanakopita, and bougatsa. The 12 different gyro pita sandwiches offered will vary from $10-14, and all come with a side of Greek fries.
The cafe features a display of Greek pastries and desserts, including the traditional baklava and the chef's Nutella cheesecakes (now available in higher quantities for special occasions), along with new recipes.
"We are introducing vegan lemon vegan and chocolate cakes, and a sugar-free chocolate cake," says Karavias. "So we're playing with the menu a little bit again, tailoring to the location, and being in South Beach, we're exploring different offerings to make sure that we have a better variety to share with our guests."
The market section was carefully curated with traditional Greek products one would find in a typical household like extra virgin olive oil, imported honey, spices, herbs, and products Kotsos himself keeps in his kitchen and uses in all Meraki restaurants.
Horiatiki is a traditional Greek salad made with tomato, cucumber, onion, green peppers,capers, kalamata olives, barley rusk, feta cheese, olive oil, and vinegar.
Stillwater & Co. photo
Some of the unique items include imported Greek natural wine from organic or biodynamic grapes, beers, and juices that weren't available for retail in the past.
"You can have a seat and enjoy a glass of wine on the outdoor terrace. We installed a beautiful little pergola to give it more of a Greek feel to it," says Karavais. "If you like it or if you like the beers you can grab a six-pack or buy a bottle to take home."
Karavais says South Florida can look forward to different forms of Meraki in the future.
"We definitely have plans to expand," says Karavais. "We have other ideas, other concepts that tie into the Meraki family. The chef's [Kotsos'] strength and love come from seafood and fresh fish. One of the things he did and gained a lot of experience from in Athens was owning his own fresh fish market, so he is very well experienced in that. Because of that, we are considering doing a Meraki Seafood Grill."
Regardless of the different shapes Meraki will take in the future, one of the main purposes of the restaurants has always been to expose South Beach to the owners' Greek heritage and the "plethora of dishes" their cuisine has to offer.
"We like to help promote Greek cuisine and I guess our job here in South Florida is to help people learn and understand those things," says Karavais. "We're like a liaison, I guess, between Greece and here."
Meraki Greek Gyro & Bakery. 919 Alton Rd., Miami Beach; merakibistro.com; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.