Food News

SOBEWFF's Lee Schrager Sells Night Owl Cookies From His Front Yard for Charity UPDATED

Lee Schrager and his dogs Stanley and Charlie Brown — AKA the Browns — invite you to their home for some cookies.
Lee Schrager and his dogs Stanley and Charlie Brown — AKA the Browns — invite you to their home for some cookies. Photo courtesy of Lee Schrager
Update: Last week's bake sale sold out, with over $20,000 raised, thanks to a fundraising match by Badia Spices, so Lee Schrager has planned another one this Sunday, May 3 with a selection of goodies up for grabs.

This Sunday, Schrager has enlisted the aid of several friends and promises significantly more items available for purchase. Still, it's safe to say the early bird gets the snacks, as cars lined up as early as 11:30 a.m. last week for a chance to buy cookies.

The bake sale has always been the great American way to raise money for charity. From parents selling cakes to pay for school band uniforms to adorable Girl Scouts peddling cookies, the bake sale is one of the most effective grassroots fundraising tools.

So leave it to Miami's king of food parties — South Beach Wine & Food Festival founder Lee Brian Schrager — to kick the concept up a notch to collect cash for the SOBEWFF & FIU Chaplin School Hospitality Industry Relief Fund.

Schrager invites people to drive up to his famed "House on Hardee"  in Coral Gables for his first Putting on the Pounds Bake Sale this Sunday, May 3, from noon to 4 p.m. (or until sold out).

Guests are welcome to pull up to Schrager's front lawn and purchase one (or all) of several goodies from Miami's most loved food and beverage pros. Each item costs $25 (cash and exact change). Everything is sold on a first-come, first-served basis — when they're gone, they're gone. There's no limit on the number of items per customer. "Buy ten; buy more," Schrager encourages.

Here are all the items up for grabs:

Night Owl Cookies is offering a special box that includes a half-dozen "fabulously fattening" treats, including a special mystery flavor baked exclusively for the sale.

Finka Table and Tap's Eileen Andrade will be offering a Cuban Sunday Survival Kit consisting of two guava pastelitos, two beef pastelitos, two cheese pastelitos, six Islas Canarias ham croquetas, and four Mini 1/2 Noches (Cuban sandwich on sweet bread).

Havana Club ambassador Gio Gutierrez will be serving up a premade Equelecua cocktail mixer, featuring lime,pineapple, Mandarine Napoléon, cranberry jam, and New Orleans bitters. When paired with Havana Club Blanco rum (not included), the mixer creates a tart and sweet punch-style cocktail. The premade mixer yields  10 cocktails.

Macchialina's Michael Pirolo will be serving up portions of baked ziti, perfect for Sunday supper.

On the phone with New Times, the food maven says he decided the sale would be a great way to raise more money for the new industry-relief fund. "So far, the fund has raised more than $1.5 million, but there are more restaurants in South Florida that need help. In addition to that, I'm bored to death. I usually always have someplace to go." Schrager says he consulted with the Browns — his two dogs: Charlie Brown, an Old English sheepdog; and Stanley, a French Briard — and they agreed to make an appearance for a good cause, though they usually don't work on Sundays.

The SOBEWFF founder will share the exact address of the pickup site Saturday night on his Instagram page, @leeschrager.

Schrager has also enlisted the help of WSVN's Belkys Nerey and political commentator and The View cohost Ana Navarro, NBC 6's Kelly Blanco, and myself, New Times' Food Editor, Laine Doss to sell the items. Schrager's dogs, the Browns, will be on hand.

To adhere to social-distancing guidelines, cookie customers are asked to drive by, nab a box of cookies, and go. But they'll still be able to get a wave from Schrager, who says, “Sure, I’ll only get as far as my front yard, but it’s farther than I get most weekends." They'll also get to spy on Schrager's fabulous house on Hardee Road, which was featured in the New York Post. That, in itself, is worth the drive.

Schrager notes that 100 percent of the proceeds from the cookie sale will benefit the SOBEWFF & FIU Chaplin School Hospitality Industry Relief Fund, which was launched last month to provide immediate financial support to independently owned and operated restaurants and bars affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. To date, it has disbursed more than $1.2 million in grants to more than 400 restaurants in South Florida.

Lee Schrager's Putting on the Pounds Bake Sale. Noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 3, at House on Hardee. Follow @leeschrager on Instagram this Saturday, May 2, for the exact address. A box of cookies costs $20, and cash and exact change are required.
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss