The Federal to Close for Revamp: Will Reopen as the Fed

The Federal Food Drink & Provisions
, a Miami favorite for its twists on classic American pub fare, is getting a face-lift.

The restaurant, open since January 2012, will close Sunday, May 8 after dinner service for a revamp, according to owners Cesar Zapata and Aniece Meinhold. "We will miss the Federal," Meinhold says of the transition. "It stands for so much and has brought us so many successes. However, with time, everything changes — our guests' expectations, our neighborhood, even us."

It's scheduled to reopen Tuesday, May 17, with a truncated name — the Fed — and a new menu. The changes in the menu reflect Zapata's growth as a chef. "As a chef, I've evolved. The food and techniques that excite me today are different from what excited me when I first opened the Federal. We have grown alongside our guests and our peers. Our lifestyles are different now. It's healthier and cleaner; our new menu will reflect this."

Though the concept and name change are new, the revamped menu may come as little surprise to fans of Zapata's dishes. The chef has constantly modified his menu — he has offered crawfish boils in season and even outdoor barbecue nights.

Personally, the chef has also committed to eating healthier, incorporating more plant-based dishes into his menu both at home and at his eatery. The new offerings also reflect Zapata's Texas roots. For that reason, the Fed's menu will have heavy Southwestern influences and will feature many vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and Paleo options. 

Shareable items include starter snacks such as house guac with pineapple, mango, and toasted coconut served with either veggies or chips; vegan veggie bowls like cauliflower rice with grated cauliflower, quinoa, dried fruit, cucumber, pineapple, and cilantro vinaigrette; hand-pressed tostadas, including one with roasted sweet plantains, jalapeño, queso fresco, and pickled onions; and skillet dishes (a take on traditional fajitas) such as smoked chicken. Dishes range in price from $8 to $14. 

Fans of the Federal's indulgent weekend brunch need not fret — the weekend meals will not change much, with favorites such as wings 'n' waffles, smoked brisket 'n' eggs, and pork belly hash remaining as "The Federal Brunch." 

The Fed will also continue its happy-hour tradition with $3 Mexican beers and $15 bottomless sangria and punch Tuesday through Friday from 3 to 7 p.m.  A daily dollar bite will also be featured.

The Federal has won many accolades in its brief history. In 2012, it was named Best Neighborhood Restaurant by Miami New Times.  It was also featured prominently on the Bravo's Best New Restaurant, a competition show that gained instant cred from Tom Colicchio's stint as host, judge, and executive producer. Guy Fieri paid a visit to the Federal for a segment on his show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in 2014. 

In addition to revamping the Fed, Meinhold and Zapata are still working on the finishing touches of Phuc Yea. The restaurant, opening at 7100 Biscayne Blvd. (formerly Moonchine Asian Bistro), is a permanent rendition of the couple's successful pop-up restaurant. According to Meinhold and Zapata, "We are currently in the final stages of the inspection process and will be announcing opening dates shortly."

When the Fed reopens, its hours will be Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Brunch will be served Saturday and Sunday from opening until 4 p.m.  
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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