Food News

Murdered Mimmo's Mozzarella Worker Remembered as a Father and Friend

Jose Gonzalez was a parent of two. The 32-year-old had worked at North Miami cheese shop Mimmo's Mozzarella Italian Market for only about two months until last week.

On Wednesday, a worker from a nearby business noticed the pocket-size shop seemed open unusually late and notified police. North Miami Police officers found Gonzalez inside, dead of an apparent gunshot wound. How or what transpired remains unclear. A heavily redacted police report offers little insight into precisely what officers found, and the agency put out a request for help. As of Monday, NMPD spokeswoman Natalie Buissereth didn't say whether there are any suspects. 

Meanwhile, Mimmo's owner, Bruno Ponce, says he and his staff have been distraught for days. "You don’t understand how I'm feeling right now," he says. The shop has reopened today but will close at 5 p.m., and that schedule will likely continue. "Everybody is scared right now; my employees are scared," Ponce says.

The tragedy strikes at the heart of Miami dining. For years, Mimmo has supplied stracciatella, scamorza, mozzarella, and ricotta salata to a number of the city's best restaurants. Its wares can be found at Juvia, Caffe Abbracci, the Biltmore, and others. Ponce opened his storefront — a quaint, popular lunch spot — only last year.

Prior to that, the building for seven years housed little more than stainless-steel refrigerators that welcomed hulking blocks of curd culled from Wisconsin cows and processed in New Jersey.  Each day before dawn, Ponce and his small crew would arrive to melt, pull, and mold the curd in rich, velvety loaves of mozzarella.  

You can go buy one today. And you should. Mimmo's earned New Times' nod for Best Cheese just last week. There's no reason the shop should't continue selling it well into the future.

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Zachary Fagenson became the New Times Broward-Palm Beach restaurant critic in 2012 before taking up the post for Miami in 2014. He also works as a correspondent for Reuters.
Contact: Zachary Fagenson