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Miami’s Fast-Casual Scene PDF Print E-mail
Written by Geoffrey Anderson Jr. and Dianne Rubin, BT Contributors   
March 2020

Food news we know you can use

WPix_Dish_3-20hen you’re in a rush or on the road, where do you eat? If your answer is a fast-food joint or a chain, you’re doing your body (and small businesses) a disservice. Fast-casual restaurants are a godsend: they’re typically a step up from fast food -- both in terms of quality and nutrition -- and they’re usually just as fast. By making just a few simple swaps, you can upgrade your diet while supporting a local business in the process.

For instance, the next time you’re in the mood for a sub, skip Subway and make your way down to Vinaigrette Sub Shop (159 E. Flagler St., 786-558-5989) in downtown Miami. Run by Daniel Serfer of Blue Collar and Mignonette, this humble sub shop focuses on classic subs with high-quality meats and cheeses, like 18-month Italian prosciutto and house-made roast beef. Should you feel fancy, you can load up on premium toppings like truffled pecorino and roasted peppers without breaking the bank. These are not hot subs, though; Vinaigrette’s subs are cold, so if you want to heat things up, you’ll be doing that on your own.

Tacos are another favorite for those of us who like things fast, casual, and cheap. When that craving strikes, avoid the urge to “Live Más” and count on Taquiza (8300 NE 2nd Ave., 305-203-2187) to take care of you. Located inside the Citadel food hall in Little River, this local sensation has been making a name for itself with its nixtamalized blue corn tortillas and succulent proteins; expect staples like pork and hanger steak as well as less common fillings like grasshoppers and the plant-based Impossible chorizo; get a side of totopos -- Taquiz’s famous blue masa chips -- and you’re set. Best of all, you’ll be in and out in a jiffy.

Poke places are a dime a dozen, but if you talk to Wynwood locals, many swear by one name: Ono Poke Shop (2980 NE 207th St., 786-574-5467). Now north Miami-Dade residents and visitors can see what all the fuss is about at Ono’s latest space in Aventura Park Square. Ono takes the Hawaiian delicacy -- at its core, a raw fish bowl -- and incorporates some Japanese twists like sushi-grade fish and multiple sauces (wasabi aioli, spicy shoyu, and ponzu, to name a few). If you usually grab some random sushi or big-chain poke on the go, give this local gem a chance.

 

OPENINGS

Ono Poke Shop isn’t the only new kid in town. North Miami Beach recently welcomed to the neighborhood The Guest (2995 NE 163rd St., 786-657-2184), a new farm-to-table Mediterranean tapas restaurant. The menu is varied and designed for sharing, so a big group is recommended for the full experience. Customers can enjoy specialties like short rib, branzino, gnocchi, octopus, and tuna tartare. If you can think of a Mediterranean dish, it’s likely on this menu. Customers will also find an extensive list of wines and cocktails to complement their meal.

Further south, Guarapo Juice Bar & Café (13200 Biscayne Blvd., 786-542-0960) opened a third outpost featuring crowd favorites like the Belgium chia waffle and Manolo vegan burger. Health-conscious diners have plenty to choose from, as the eatery is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. As you’d expect, Guarapo specializes in fresh juices and is home to dozens of delicious selections: you can get one of their many blends, opt for a smoothie, or pick from one of their remedies for acne, allergies, migraine, and other health concerns.

Over in Midtown Miami, The Little Hen (3451 NE 1st Ave., 305-677-0584) is breathing new life into the long-closed Cheese Course space. This European-inspired establishment emphasizes breakfast and lunch items like ham and Gruyère omelets, braised short rib egg benedict, and chicken paillard. High tea is also available here -- a rare sight in South Florida. Pastries and other grab-and-go staples make an appearance, too.

 

CLOSINGS

Downtown’s Zest Miami by local celebrity chef Cindy Hutson finally called it quits, reportedly due to ongoing building renovations. Spris Artisan Pizza and Sushi 4 Fun, two other tenants in the same building, also closed. Not too far away, DIRT abruptly shuttered its Mary Brickell Village outpost; the clean-eating concept also ceased operations in Miami Beach.

 

Geoffrey Anderson Jr. and Dianne Rubin-Anderson are co-founders of Miami Food Pug, an award-winning South Florida food blog that fuses the couple’s love of dogs and food.

 

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