Michael Schwartz announced in May
that he would close his eponymous restaurant for a refresh after 14 years serving patrons in the Design District.
Four months later, Michael's Genuine Food & Drink is back with a new look and a kitchen that's twice its original size.
Guests will now enter Michael's from 40th Street and will have the choice of dining in a new-look dining room or an outdoor patio among lush greenery. Schwartz worked with designer Marcela Lombana to incorporate elements of the original dining room — including the coin mosaic artwork by Carl Myers and deep red accents.
Schwartz says it was important to keep the spirit of the original Michael's that people have known for nearly fifteen years. "There's a new courtyard, beautifully restored with beautiful tile. We've installed big Eurodoors, so the dining room spills out onto the courtyard," the restaurateur says.
"The restaurant needed the refresh and the staff needed it too," he adds, noting that although the space almost feels like a completely new restaurant, the staff is made up of the same hospitality veterans, many of whom have been with him from the beginning. General manager Alina Tellez started as a hostess at Michael's a dozen years ago, and executive chef Dillion Wolff came onboard as a culinary intern.
The new dining room at Michael's Genuine
Photo courtesy of the Genuine Hospitality Group
Schwartz himself plans to be a consistent presence at the restaurant, where he'll focus on mentoring chefs and staff. "My job is to instill the culture and the spirit so my staff can carry the torch," he says. "Over the years, they've done a remarkable job."
As for the menu, look for a mix of old favorites like stracciatella, wood oven-roasted octopus, and pan-roasted poulet rouge, along with a new section that will offer seasonal cold roasted vegetables.
Beverage director Amanda Fraga has also revamped the cocktail list and enhanced the wine program.
Though the reopening coincides with Miami Art Week, Schwartz says it wasn't exactly planned that way.
"The renovations took a little longer than we initially thought," he confesses. We just got back in the building this past weekend."
As much as he's looking forward to welcoming back guests, it seems the feeling is mutual.
"The other night we were doing a training and we had yellow caution tape up, but people were coming up and asking for a table," he says.
Michael's Genuine Food & Drink.
130 NE 40th St., Miami; 305-573-5550; michaelsgenuine.com. Monday to Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight; Sunday from 11:a.m. to 10 p.m.