Between art-filled walls and quiet side streets, find Wynwood’s Miam Café. If you don’t frequent the neighborhood, the petit restaurant and cafe might have slipped from your radar. That is, until now.
The bistro is hidden inside the black-and-white Wynwood Building. Among quiet offices, including yours truly New Times, Miam is usually bustling with locals.
The European-style locale serves breakfast and lunch and caters to diners looking for a place to call home. Whether you’re in search of a quick bite or in need a pseudo workplace, Miam welcomes both.
For executive chef James Seyba, who previously worked at Broken Shaker, 27 Restaurant, and Centro Taco, discovering a place like Miam is exactly what he’d been waiting for. Since joining the team in December 2015, he’s been able to continue the café’s out-of-towner vibe, while adding a few tweaks along the way.
“I’ve been in the business a long time here in Miami,” Seyba says, “Almost 20 years. But things are a lot different here. It’s very European, and the food and feeling show that.”
Miam’s owner Alexis Jacot told New Times in 2014, "In Europe, we have a beautiful café culture, where people hang out and drink coffee or have a glass of wine after work or in the afternoon. I want to encourage that at Miam."
When Seyba was hired, he was given near free rein over the menu with little conditions. “I get treated with a lot of respect here,” he says. “I have most of the control in terms of food, which I really like. When an owner gives a chef confidence, everything tends to flourish better.”
Seyba went from butchering whole fish at previous gigs to crafting artisan-style sandwiches and freshly-made pastas using local ingredients found in Wynwood and neighboring areas. Last month, he debuted Miam’s first menu revamp since its opening in September 2014.
“The main reason behind it was the old chef is no longer here,” he says. “The entire menu was written by her, so this gave me an opportunity to let 'the new chef be a chef.'”
Seyba trimmed the menu down, which ranges in price from $1.50 to $15. Now, he offers just a handful of salad, sandwich, soup, egg, and tartine plates. “When there’s a smaller menu, your product is fresher,” he says. “The rotation of a product is much more frequent.”
He extended Miam’s breakfast to an all-day service, saying Miami’s party-town environment begs for it. “People work different hours,” he says. “Some people don’t get up until noon, so for those who have that kind of lifestyle, you can still come in at 1 or 2 p.m. and get breakfast.”
A burger drizzled with roasted garlic aioli and served with herb-roasted sweet potato fries is on the menu, giving Miam a few more substantial dishes for diners with a heftier appetite.
Seyba initiated a “full-service plated dish” too, which changes daily. Monday and Tuesdays are pasta days, offering pappardelle with spinach, roasted tomato sauce, and ricotta, or tagliatelle bolognese. The rest of the week features varied dishes, like braised chicken or breakfast patty melts, which gives Seyba the opportunity to showcase a uniquely-crafted recipe and dish. It adds a fresh twist to Miam’s otherwise sandwich- and salad-centric menu, where Seyba typically fuses ingredients like kale, quinoa, watermelon, tuna, ricotta, turkey, and pesto to create a bevy of simple and always fresh offerings.
“It’s a nice atmosphere because it’s not over the top,” he says. “It’s really under the radar, but people get a great experience here. Food always comes out in a reasonable time, and the cafe always looks clean.”
Breakfast and lunch aside, Miam’s daily desserts are reason enough to trek to its storefront. Find chocolate chunk cookies, scones, brownies, fruit tarts, and pies, to a variety of duffins which come in flavors like Nutella, key lime pie, and Eternity Roasters coffee cream.
“We make everything fresh in-house,” he says. “So when we run out, it’s out. But I'd rather that and have everything be fresh than be serving two- or three-day-old pastries.”
Miam recommends pairing a slice of cake or a few duffins, a cup of coffee courtesy of Eternity Coffee Roasters, and spending the afternoon. It gets busy during its lunch rush between noon and 2 p.m., but quiets down later. Food preparation stops at 3 p.m., but most things on the menu stay available (Besides its duffins, as those typically sell out quick.)
“It’s a little bit off the beaten path,” Seyba says. “But it’s worth it, and working here is awesome.”
For more information, visit miamcafe.com.
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