Barclay Graebner, who opened Wynwood's Morgans Restaurant in 2010 with Jamaican movie producer Richie Effs, is opening two restaurants after she fell quiet following the closure of Georgia's Union in the former Joe Allen space in 2012.
Her pocket-size café called Black Sheep (1884 79th St. Cswy., North Bay Village; 786-763-8468) opened in late January in the nondescript North Bay Village strip mall that also houses the Happy Stork liquor store and a small grocery.
The place serves beer and wine, along with an all-day menu that starts (at 9 a.m.) with a thankfully savory-leaning list of breakfast options ranging from an omelet with potatoes, olives, red onions, chorizo, and cheddar ($12) to corned-beef hash ($10). The Dutch baby ($12) arrives in a cast-iron pan with an over-easy egg and a smattering of cremini and oyster mushrooms in a velvety sauce. The pancake itself, rather than being the classic crisp-edged. eggy sort of crepe, is a bit starchier and fluffier than the traditional variety but is a good vehicle for sopping up the dish's fatty yolk and sauce.
On the other hand, the kitchen's egg sandwich might ($8) be the best one in Miami at the moment. A runny egg, plenty of crisp bacon, and a sticky slice of melted American cheese come tucked into a brioche roll that, unlike most of the kinds found across the city, isn't overly dense or dry.
Just be wary not to order a blood mary if you stop by for brunch. The place's lone waiter seems to have a vendetta against the cocktail, saying, "It's gross, I don't know how people could drink that," when this writer ordered a pitcher. Unfortunately, that same waiter, who was doubling as the bartender, seemed inept at filling a pitcher with the proper balance of vodka and the place's horseradish-y house mix. Stirring it seemed to be an issue as well.
Lunch and dinner offerings include the stomach-distending Colombian classic picada criolla ($20), which comes with chicken sausage, morcilla, sweetbreads, and a chicken empanada. If you're not looking to clog your ventricles in one sitting, there are Prince Edward Island mussels in a coconut curry ($16) or slices of lamb leg ($22) with an olive and tomato salad alongside hummus and pita. Pillowy ricotta gnocchi ($14) are another good option and come draped in a heavily herbed cream sauce topped with crushed, roasted pistachio for a pleasant textural contrast.
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At the same time, Graebner (who did not respond to calls and text messages for this story) is working on opening another restaurant, Sherwood's, across from the Citadel on NE Second Avenue in Little Haiti. Though Graebner couldn't be reached to discuss the menu, the place will likely offer the comforting fare on which she's built her reputation over the past two decades.
The mother of five moved to South Beach in 1998 and, at the age of 19, opened Blu Dog Café on Española Way. "The menu was the same as Morgans," she told the Miami Herald in 2010. She opened Morgans, named for her second child, in 2010. The eatery became a fast favorite in the neighborhood, particularly at brunch, and set her on a kind of tear through Miami restaurants. She opened Morgans on the Beach in the former Joe Allen space the following year and then changed its name to Georgia's Union (named for her third child) the following year. That restaurant closed in 2012, and besides fashioning the menu for the now-shuttered Annex Wynwood on NE 29th Street, she's been mostly silent.
Black Sheep seems like an ideal next episode in that it can serve as a neighborhood place for the surrounding apartment and condo dwellers. At present, there's little more than a couple of middling Italian spots, Benihana, and the soon-to-close Japanese Market serving the neighborhood. How Sherwood's and the Citadel will play together, however, remains to be seen.