After less than a year, James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Solomonov's two fast-casual restaurants in Wynwood have closed. Sunday was the last day for Dizengoff, an Israeli-styled hummusiya; and Federal Donuts, which during its short lifespan sold among the city's best doughnuts alongside pristine fried chicken dusted with a za'atar or coconut curry seasoning.
A spokesperson for Solomonov and partner Steve Cook's company, CookNSolo, said the closure is "for now" but didn't elaborate further.
"The construction that has surrounded us for the last six months was simply too much to bear," Solomonov said in an emailed statement. "It’s been an honor, Miami. You welcomed us into your community with open arms and gave us the privilege to serve you. We hope to serve you again when the dust settles."
The two restaurants opened next door to each other early this past summer on the ground floor of 250 Wynwood and were Solomonov's foray into expanding his restaurant empire beyond the Northeast. Over the past few years, his Philadelphia restaurant group, founded on his lauded Israeli spot Zahav, expanded across the city with multiple Dizengoff locations, as well as the Jewish spot Abe Fisher and the Southern-inspired luncheonette Rooster Soup Co., which donates 100 percent of its profits to a nonprofit partner.
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In Miami, Solomonov announced the opening of Federal Donuts after last year's South Beach Wine & Food Festival, and word of Dizengoff came shortly thereafter.
Though Miami is well-trod territory for celebrity chefs and their growing empires, Solomonov seemed to spend more time here than others both ahead of his opening and during their short lifespans. In interviews with New Times, he likened the Magic City to the Tel Aviv of America.
"The vibrancy, the excitement, the energy — there are a lot of synergies between them," he said. Dizengoff itself is name for Tel Aviv's main promenade. He also hired his executive chef, Valerie Chang, locally rather than bringing in someone from Philadelphia and hosted a handful of Friday-night Shabbat dinners at Dizengoff.
Alas, the chance to tear into Solomonov's puffy pitas and swipe a piece through his velvety hummus is gone. The recipes are available in his Zahav cookbook; just be sure not to cheap out on the olive oil or tehina.