A few weeks back, Short Order asked readers to vote for Miami's sweetest restaurant couple.
We were looking for a couple that worked together in the same restaurant -- sharing the heat and the workload to make beautiful food together.
Walk into the Design District restaurant any time and you're likely to see Marino behind the chef's counter working the open kitchen while Wade makes sure there's flow at the front of the house. We spoke with Marino about what it's like to work together and how this couple will spend Valentine's Day.
New Times: How long have you and Marcus been working together?
Dena Marino: We've been working together since 1996. Marcus was a cook at Tra Vigne
and I was a cook there too. He became the assistant pastry chef and I
became the sous chef. Michael Chiarello, who owned the restaurant didn't
want coworkers dating, but we did it and tried to pretend that no one
knew. And the thing was that not many people knew that Marcus was also
Michael's cousin and Michael did not want me dating his cousin! We left
to move to Aspen in 1999 and we got married right before we left. We've
been working together ever since.
How does working together work for the two of you?
we opened D19, Marcus flipped to the front of the house. I needed
someone to watch my back when I'm in the kitchen. He's really good with
wine and cocktails and people. Hes' protective of me in the restaurant
and it's great.
What are the ups and downs of working together?
It's very difficult working with your spouse, but it's always amazing.
"up" is that they understand everything in the restaurant business and
the amount of hours it takes up in your day. The "down" is that you
bring everything home with you and that's all you ever talk
about..What's wrong...What's happening....And what's good.
How are you two spending Valentine's Day?
all be in the restaurant. Christmas is a special day for us and we're
lucky because Christmas isn't too busy in the Design District , so we
can close. Thanksgiving is more about giving, so the restaurant's open
and we do a big dinner at the end of the night for the staff.
No celebrating at all? No sneaking away for a toast or a kiss?
(Laughing) If he's lucky he'll get a kiss on Valentine's Day.
What advice would you give a couple who want to start a restaurant together?
strong and remember that you love each other no matter what. And keep
what happens at the restaurant at the restaurant - don't take it home
But you said you take the business home with you?
True. But that's the best advice I can try to give to a young couple starting out.
Here are some other "sweet couples" you voted for:
Aniece Meinhold and Cesar Zapata share duties at The Federal Food Drink & Provisions. Meinhold is the self-proclaimed "bar wench" and "pot stirrer" and Zapata is the "stove master" and "pig whisperer." They're also partners at Acme Bakery & Coffee.
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Michelle Bernstein and David Martinez are partners in business and love. They worked together to open Michy's and continue to jointly nurture their restaurant endeavors.
Kristel Martinez and Nedal Ahmad both work to make Pincho Factory a success. Side by side, they make beautiful music -- and burgers -- together.