Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink’s New Northern Home Away from Home… Cleveland!

Today we are thrilled to announce in the Miami Herald that Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink is coming to Cleveland.  Slated to open at The Van Aken District of Shaker Heights in April 2019, Michael and the team are working hard to make it genuine from the ground up.  With our now 12-year old Miami Design District original an enduring bastion of exciting food built on quality ingredients, the new location will focus on keeping it simple and doing what we do best – straightforward, seasonal cooking and warm hospitality. Follow the restaurant on Instagram now @michaelsgenuinecle and news related to the opening at #mgfdcle, with Michael joining the District for its Chill & Toast event on December 1, where locals can first sample a taste of what’s to come in favorites iconic to the menu. The block-style party will showcase food, drink and shopping including food and entertainment from 6-9pm.

Our space is the corner (not yet reflecting its Genuine look in the rendering) storefront to the left of Shinola Detroit.

Originally slated to be Genuine Pizza®, the notion to take the opportunity to the next level developed quickly for the space during its buildout.

“For us, the goal of any project is to realize its full potential. Working with the team on site at The Van Aken District, and getting to know the greater area, it became apparent that we wanted to do more. More for us means Michael’s Genuine,” he explains. “Genuine is our heart and soul, and exists because of community. We couldn’t be more proud or grateful to be in the position to introduce it in Shaker Heights, where stewarding this idea matters more than anything. This is what drew us in from the get-go and will continue to motivate the experience manifested there for our guests.”

Since 2007, Michael’s flagship restaurant has defined Genuine Hospitality, the special experience that results when delicious food and thoughtful service come together, designed by a team who cares about great product and making people happy.  Locals and visitors alike embrace and crave this unique approach to dining out — some may consider the restaurant a second home, a place where they’re comfortable, that they want to share with friends. An approach built on clean, vibrant flavors and what’s abundant in season from only the best sources ignites energy in the kitchen – a dynamic environment that drives creation and a tireless pursuit of quality and consistency.

“We believe in the power of a great, wholesome food to create neighborhood and that essential energy that makes a place feel irresistible and people feel comfortable,” says Jon Ratner, Principal of The Van Aken District. “Few chefs around the country do this at the level of Michael and his team and we are really happy to be able to call his namesake our home, too. The food he brings to the table is about more than simply great taste.  It’s a welcoming culture of sharing a table with purpose — a feeling we have in common at The Van Aken District and greater Shaker Heights.”

The founding principles of fresh, simple, pure permeate every aspect of the dining experience at Michael’s Genuine. Greeted at the door with a smile and oysters piled high on the raw bar, the energy of the main dining room is palpable. Action emanates from the open kitchen with its food bar stacked with fresh ingredients pulled for the line by bustling cooks, stoking the wood oven’s flames as whole fish, chicken, vegetables and pizzas fly in and out. Whether a table or cozy booth indoors under the warm glow of red lanterns or the courtyard, there’s always a place to get comfortable. The welcoming bar is always a friendly choice, whether for lunch, dinner, or happy hour. Sunday Brunch features a weekly-changing menu of savory and sweet small plates. The restaurant has enjoyed ongoing media recognition from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, and Time magazine and has become a fixture locally on the Eater Miami 38 list of reliably exceptional places to dine.

Situated in the heart of The Van Aken District in the historic Shaker Heights community just 9 miles east of the Cleveland city center, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink Cleveland will open at 3427 Tuttle Road, Shaker Heights, OH 44122 in the spring.   Inspired by the Shaker Heights spirit of quality, craftsmanship and entrepreneurialism, the Van Aken District is the kind of neighborhood one dreams of – offering a unique blend of urban and suburban lifestyles in a city deeply rooted in history, culture and diversity. Shaker Heights’ new downtown is an irresistible destination with the best in local and national retail, office spaces, contemporary apartment living, and features a variety of dining experiences including sit down restaurants, outdoor patios and a 21,000-square foot Market Hall.  To get to know the area, visit @thevanakendistrict on Instagram and thevanakendistrict.com.

Give Miami (Kale Pizza!) Day is Thursday, November 15

This time last year, Michael and Wellness in the Schools partnered with Broward County Food & Nutrition Services to introduce his Kale Pizza to the cafeteria, engaging its cooks in 10 Broward schools to train on the recipe and other new scratch-cooked dishes. With Kale Pizza set to officially launch on the line on December 3 (YES!), we are celebrating with activities to support the cause on Give Miami Day, Thursday, November 15, the largest city-wide annual day of fundraising.  Genuine Pizza will host students from McNicol Middle Magnet & STEM School in Hollywood for a pizza-making class.  Flagship Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink will also feature the Kale Pizza all day as a lunch and dinner special, with proceeds donated to Wellness in the Schools.

Chef leading a “Right on Target” cooking class last year benefitting Wellness in the Schools.

“When giving back tastes good too you know you’re doing something right and Wellness in the Schools has nailed the formula!” says Chef Schwartz. “We have so much fun working with the team locally and our Wellness in the Schools chef Leonor Azpurua. Seeing actual progress happen is not only rewarding but inspiring for me and my team at The Genuine Hospitality Group. The hard work is happening in cafeterias on a daily basis, so the little bit we can do to reach the kids by getting their hands doughy in our classroom makes it all worth it!”

Kale Pizza has been a longtime popular menu item at Harry’s Pizzeria, our original South Florida pizza joint and is now enjoyed daily at all five locations including Genuine Pizza in Aventura and Atlanta. Supporters can get involved by visiting wellnessintheschools.com where they can donate as part of Give Miami Day.

“I am blown away by the passion and dedication Chef Leonor has taken with our school and how much of an inspiration she is for the kids,” says Principal Gurreonero from McNicol Middle School. “It’s only the second year of the program, but Wellness in the Schools has earned great respect from their schools, and we’re so grateful to be involved.”

Follow along the journey behind the scenes on Instagram at @wellnessintheschools, @genuinepizza, @harryspizzeria@michaelsgenuine and @chefmschwartz, and #givemiamikalepizza.

[VIDEO] Field Report: Old Spot, New Tricks at Joyce Farms

Heritage Black Turkeys for Thanksgiving.

Is it sustainable?, you ask, head deep in today’s buzzword feedbag.  But what if we can do better than simply maintain?  Ron Joyce doesn’t just think we can, he does.  His agriculture alphabet begins with regeneration, and it is as preventative as it is progressive.  In October, we flew to American swine farm capital North Carolina (second to Iowa) to learn exactly how.  What followed was the most unconventional and scientifically surprising farm tour you just couldn’t dream up.

Knowing where our food comes from, although sometimes difficult to experience for better and worse, is essential if we are to do things better.  Being informed is absolutely the only way to be, especially in this business where the decisions we make on food sourcing affect what thousands of people a day put in their bodies.  To make good on this vision for how Michael does business, visiting suppliers is something we try to do as much as possible.  When we get an invitation like Ron’s, to enhance a trip with education, it’s impossible to pass up and something worth sharing with the next generation of cooks.  For Chef, that’s son Harry Schwartz.  From soil university and rainfall simulation, to population restoration and integration through genetic selection of heritage breeds, Dr. Alan Williams near blew off each of our thinking caps — from rooter to tooter as they say in those parts!

Me, Brad, Chef and Harry Schwartz.

The Joyce Farms approach is common sense and begins in a place all chefs can relate to.  How do we get best flavor from an animal?  The answer is simple – natural animal, not bred to be factory farmed on cheap grain and restricted conditions, begets natural flavor and nutritional value.  We last spoke with Ron for the blog about his Aberdeen Angus program.  Today we share our tour of farmer Adam Grady’s Dark Branch Farm in Kenansville, NC to see it in action.  Grady is also raising Joyce’s heritage hog of choice, the Gloucestershire Old Spot.  The timing couldn’t have been more opportune — with the area still reeling from Hurricane Florence, the flood recovery process was an object lesson all its own.

Watch and learn here, and look for more menu items to come at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink as the season changes and we continue to evolve our efforts at product sourcing as a growing business.

[Video] Gone Fishing for Florida Stone Crab Season

It all began with a hunt for a frog leg source in 2006 when Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink was a set of plans and dreams. Some 12 years later, fisherman George Figueroa of Trigger Seafood is Michael’s source for everything under the South Florida sun including these Everglades treats, from local spiny lobster to his company’s namesake triggerfish when we’re lucky.  Like most long lasting relationships, things grow and evolve.  You see each other when you can — sometimes more often than others, but it’s always like yesterday and there’s always an opportunity for a spontaneous adventure.  When George happened to be by the office last week to pick up a check, he asked if I wanted to join on the boat Sunday for the 2018 Florida Stone Crab season harvest.  Frog gigging?  Sure, Michael has donned the headlamp under full moonlight.  Wild boar hunting? He and culinary director Bradley Herron joined George on the swamp buggy.  But after all this time, it would be our first time pulling traps — and certainly not the last!

Unlike recreational opportunities, our fisherman has a commercially-regulated (for sustainability) license where he may legally harvest both claws — if they are legal in size and the crab continues to feed (as many frisky ones we encountered today without claws were doing in the traps.) The crabs’ natural predators in the bay including triggerfish, dolphin, turtles, and octopus actively prey on both clawed and clawless specimens. The reality is we encountered pilfered and stolen traps all day long, which is bad for everyone, especially the health of our fishery.

Stone Crab season is one of those give-ins. Not taken for granted but to a certain degree expected.  Nothing should ever be that way, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to realize it through this past weekend’s experience.  George’s office is like that.  It appears to be a constant — the crystalline water of Biscayne Bay, the blue sky embracing its National Park, the delicious seafood.

Scratch the shimmer though, and the squalls, the tropical changes, the pirate’s-life-for-me blood coursing thick and hungry in all of us down in these wild parts rise to the surface.  That’s the thing about buried treasure.  It makes us all go a little crazy. Go rogue in the rush of discovery and payday in glorious sweet meat.  But what will you pull up?  Has someone gotten there, to your licensed traps, first? The unpredictability of it all runs deep, and that’s the object lesson we took away with our 65-pound claw haul. Protection and regulation can only do so much for our natural resources.  It takes a little more work than that.  It takes respect, and education even when it’s not always easy on the eyes is a fine place to start.

Thank you @jorge_trigger_seafood for showing us the #stonecrab ropes, sharing insight into the challenges of managing this fishery, and always telling it like it is. Keep it real and come along for the ride with us on the video above. When you enjoy some claws at MGFD or Amara at Paraiso there will be new meaning and respect to contemplate — how they got to the table and in some cases why they’re absent from it.

 

So Happy Together: Margherita Meets Margarita — and a New Full Bar — at Genuine Pizza Atlanta

You know it’s going to be a good week when Monday means more than one kind of Margy is in the picture.  We are excited to now offer a refreshing line up of cocktails at Genuine Pizza Atlanta!  After the successful introduction of Sangria this summer, it was only a matter of time before the first of our pizzerias got a full bar program going to complement this wine-based favorite.  Michael collaborated with director of pizza operations Paolo Bazzani — bar manager emeritus of Michael’s Genuine Pub on Quantum of the Seas — on a simple yet well rounded list inspired by the drinks section of his forthcoming pizza cookbook.  The result? A down-to-earth selection that checks all your thirsty boxes, each for $12.

BULLETPROOF MANHATTAN

Michael’s original cocktail at MGFD is as satisfying as it gets, with a touch of class.

Four Roses Bourbon known for its balance and quality meets rosemary-cherry syrup and fresh lemon to cut the sweetness and rein it in just enough.

A rosemary sprig to spear cherry jewels makes it special.

WATERMELON SPRITZ

This is a  twist on the classic aperif we like for winding down the evening or perking up a lunch date.

Aperol joins St. Germain elderflower liqueur, juicy watermelon and fizzy prosecco.

Goes by “Cabarete” at Michael’s Genuine® and is a kicked up alternative to our sangria — and just as refreshing!

SPICY RITA

Nothing hits the spot and says festive like a margarita.  Jose Cuervo Silver, grapefruit and muddled jalapeño shaken over ice with a spicy rim that keeps you going back for more.

Especially yummy with a Margherita pie and polenta fries.

Or put a Spicy Pepperoni pizza in check by matching two bold favorites for a taste explosion.

THE DOCTOR

We love a good beer cocktail, especially when gin is involved.

Whether a full on prescription or a direct order, Boodles Gin, apple juice and Dr. Robot sour beer cures all that ales you and then some.

Nice to drink local, and try something new, too.  Enjoy, then chase with a Dr. Robot.

GENUINE MULE

Absolut vodka, lime and ginger beer just tastes better in a fancy copper mug!