At Home on the Wheel with Gary the Potter

It seemed night had fallen a little earlier than usual for a summer evening as I pulled into the driveway tucked off a residential street on Miami Beach.  The house sat quiet in a nest of palms, casting light from the pores of its winding single story footprint, a midcentury South Florida home in the truest sense.  One pane in particular fluttered, beckoning as I approached to peer inside.  There was Gary Rosenberg, bustling inside his 12′ x 12’ converted garage ceramics studio, not unlike my first apartment in New York City. I think we called it a shoebox.

I knocked on the door and stepped back in time to 10th grade studio art class.  It felt great, and the usual suspects were all there. First the damp, intoxicating smell of clay.  And clay was everywhere.  The floor, the wheel, Gary’s overalls… and me, already, even without sitting down to take a test drive and see if I remembered a thing or two.  One thing was for certain.  Whatever I didn’t recall, Gary was going to show me.

“I first really got into it in 1973.  I apprenticed under Eddie Weyhe,”  Gary begins.  “He was a painter and potter in Coconut Grove I met when I was 17.  He was very artistic and had a great sense of design.  The way he threw was amazing.  He had this Florida Room in his house with one all-white wall, and he would take some charcoal and sketch his next piece, including the decoration.  He worked in three sections.  The final product would be 6-8 feet tall!

Gary's beginnings behind the wheel.

Gary’s beginnings behind the wheel.

The thing about his work was that it felt like a piece of art. That’s the difference that makes great pottery. I have some of his ‘mistakes’. They’re my most treasured pieces. He’d toss them into the back of his yard, and I’d go and collect them.  They have a beginning middle and end, like a great meal.”

Gary is a commercial real estate broker, running his business as a family operation with his son Andy.  And he is an artisan in the truest sense.  He is also a blacksmith, certified hypnotist and comedian.  Pottery is not quite an art and not quite a hobby for this Beach High grad.  He approaches it as a craftsman.  The work is functional, and he produces a lot of it out of this tiny studio he built 11 years ago.  And that was the reason for my visit. Production.

Michael met Gary at a poker match 10 years ago, and they have been part of the same group ever since, not to mention neighbors and friends. Not surprisingly, Chef is a great fan of his work.  If you look closely, you’ll notice some pieces at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink that have been there pretty much since the beginning.  There’s the business card bowl at the host stand and the perforated bowl in the center of our ingredient wall on the food bar.  This evening it would be an order for new radish bowls for our bar keeping Gary on his toes. I would learn – through participation thanks to a great teacher – how they were made, from centering, opening and pulling, to trimming in their mid-dry leather stage with his set of custom made Tungsten Carbide tools.  Gary explained that after the first or Bisque firing in the kiln just under 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the piece will shrink 15%, making his measuring stick even that more important when an order as specific as Michael’s comes in.

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I began two pieces that night — a small vase and a plate with a shallow lip, and gained a Gary trick that he learned from his mentor for centering the clay by pushing it forwards on the wheel and letting it come back.   As I closelined each piece from its bat, the removable attachment to the base of the wheel on which you “throw” the clay, and placed them on the shelf to dry it became clear that Gary is like any great sushi master. A Shokunin. He both makes individual pieces each imbued with character, thanks to signature lines and textures applied that harness the glaze, but he has standardized a look that he can reproduce with profound prolific effect.

“I threw 70 pots in three days. Four or so of them will be the right size for Michael, and the others are for gift bags for the weddings,” he continues (both his son and his daughter each will be married before the end of the year.) “I’m making each of them Kiddish cups for their ceremonies, too.”

A family guy through and through, and one we are proud to call part of the extended Genuine family as well.  Michael takes another turn at the wheel soon when it’s glazing time.  Can’t wait to see how he makes his mark.

Chef to Farm | Stagiaire Supper Comes Homestead

Reinvent, educate, take it home to where our heart is… Chef de cuisine Niven Patel has graciously volunteered to take the next generation of TGHG executive chef Bradley Herron’s Stagiaire Suppers under his wing at his new farmhouse in Homestead.

After a successful first seven suppers, and cooks sent to Greenhouse Tavern (Steve Martin,) SBRAGA (Milton Vega,) Barbuto (Ray Melendi,) Hot & Hot Fish Club (Juan Mayo,) NOMA (Akino West in 2014,) Blackbird (Gabe Rossi in September,) and Salvation Taco (Floyd Jones,) it is Head Line Cook Manuel Arredondo’s turn to get himself to Craft! Help us make it possible in as appropriate setting as any – Rancho Patel (!) – as Niven’s last raised garden beds are constructed and planted for season. Tickets are now live HERE.

IMG_8222.PNGWhen: Sunday, September 7
5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
16800 SW 296th St.
Homestead, FL 33030
(allow 45 minutes travel time)
What: Please join us for genuine staff meal cooked by one of our own so they can travel to stage at a great chef’s restaurant.
$50 includes:
– Welcome Cocktail
– Passed HD
– 3 courses served family style including dessert
– A number of awesome wines
RSVP: Please say yes to Bradley with cash if you see him or conveniently use your credit card through Brown Paper Tickets here.
Why: Your contribution will go to send Manny to stage with Tom Colicchio’s team at Craft in NYC!

Announcing Terrapin Pizzeria | A New Craft Beer & BBQ Pop at Harry’s

Terrapin Pizzeria BannerWe are really excited that tickets are now live [HERE] for Terrapin Pizzeria on Tuesday, August 26 at 7PM, as Harry’s welcomes its first guest brewmaster for an all new kind of pop-up… beer and BBQ style! Before this kick-butt craft brewery hailing from Athens, Georgia hits the sand at the Key West Brew Fest over Labor Day weekend, Terrapin Beer Company and its founding brewmaster Spike Buckowski will make a stop in the Design District to start the party off right!

A fun visit at Harry's two months ago from Terrapin's founder and president Jon Cochran with market rep Evan to take some of their new IPA cans. Yum!

A fun visit at Harry’s two months ago from Terrapin’s founder and president Jon Cochran with market rep Evan to take some of their new IPA cans. Delish!

Grab one of our lined pizza plates and hit up our indoor and outdoor food stations including SMOKER (barbecue pork shoulder & brisket with two sauces, cole slaw, potato rolls and a big ole crock of butter) COLD VEGGIES (Florida sem-chi rice salad, grilled marinated vegetables, and watermelon and feta salad) and WOOD OVEN (roasted sweet and sour head-on-shrimp and whole corn in foil with cilantro and lime butter and cotija cheese. Tables set up communal style will be replete with house pickles and hot sauce, and plenty of c-fold towels of course! Terrapin Beer Co.’s founding brewmaster Spike Buckowski will be behind our COUNTER pouring new bottles and cans from his summer portfolio, and Harry’s servers will be flying around the room with half gallon jugs to ensure no glass is ever empty! As if that wasn’t enough to whet your whistle, Hedy Goldsmith’s got some southern style TREATS up her sleeve, which will be passed around 8:30 (frozen peanut butter pie pops, Michael’s Genuine Home Brew floats and slab pie with fruit.) Event begins at 7:00 p.m. Please be prompt! Tickets cost $68 and include it all! Menu and beers are subject to change.

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Terrapin Hopsecutioner IPA (Available in kegs and bottles)
Terrapin Hi-5 IPA (Cans)
Terrapin Recreation Ale (Available in kegs and cans)
Terrapin Liquid Bliss – Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter (12oz bottles only)
Terrapin Rye Pale Ale – (Available in kegs and bottles)

Also available:
Terrapin American Oak Aged Big Hoppy Monster – Vintage 2013 (12oz bottles only) I can drop of a sample next week
Terrapin Maggie’s Peach Farmhouse Ale (Available in 15.5 gal kegs and 12 oz bottles) Made with GA peaches
Terrapin Red Wine Barrel Aged Monk’s Revenge – Vintage 2013 (5.2 gal keg only) By request only for rare and special events – Uber limited
Terrapin Pumpkinfest (Available in kegs and botttles) Festbier brewed with ale yeast and uses pumpkin and classic pie spices

We’re also thrilled to have the brewery’s Recreation Ale sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum Class with Michael’s Genuine Pub! Now that’s sessionable! Cheers to that and see you at Harry’s in three weeks.


Getting Koozie as Home Brew Turns 2


Chef’s suds are all grown up. Now available in select Whole Foods Market stores in South Florida and heading to New York City in the fall to board Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas at Michael’s Genuine® Pub, a lot can happen in two years!  This weekend we mark the occasion Michael’s Genuine® Home Brew first became available at our restaurants on August 9, 2012 by toasting everyone who has gotten us here… especially you!

Our limited edition koozies

Our limited edition koozies

For the month of August, we will offer a complimentary, limited edition You Are What You Drink koozie with each bottle purchased at Harry’s Pizzeria and Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink, while supplies last. These souvenirs are as practical as they are adorable, and we hope that you bring them with you wherever you enjoy your Home Brew or other beverage of choice… We’re guessing the beach this summer!

In addition, Friday, August 8 until Sunday August 10, our three Design District restaurants — Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Harry’s Pizzeria and The Cypress Room — will feature a savory dish during those three days which pays homage to our beer as an ingredient. Our Executive Pastry Chef, Hedy Goldsmith, will also offer a Home Brew dessert at Michael’s Genuine, to knock your socks off! Let’s dig in:

At our neighborhood pizzeria, Harry’s Pizzeria Chef de Cuisine Steven Martin will prepare Home Brew battered shrimp fritters, with a remoulade sauce and herbs.

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink Chef de Cuisine Niven Patel has battered green beans with a malt vinegar aioli in the frier. They are unbelievably flavorful and balanced thanks to lemon and the malt aioli. I really enjoy eating my vegetables this way.

Stay put at Genuine for Hedy’s Home Brew – Cold Brew ice cream float, with Genuine bacon beer nut cookies, served on the side. This float brings the inner kid out of you, although it is only made for big kids with a jolt from Panther Coffee and a big beer hug (21 and older please!) While sipping from the straw, the drink awakens every sense in you, while the spoonful of ice cream and crema cannot stop your from smiling. Meanwhile, the contrast from the crunchy cookies creates multiple dimensions in the dish, as well as quite a bit of interaction, which we love. Hedy and I were so excited that we took a selfie, or two…

Home Brew steamed black drum, with braised endive, fennel and Home Brew beurre blanc

Home Brew steamed black drum, with braised endive, fennel and Home Brew beurre blanc

Our elegant dining room, The Cypress Room, reveres the classy side of our beer fashion. While the restaurant is currently hosting Miami Spice for the second consecutive year, Chef de Cuisine Roel Alcudia found time to beautifully plate as only he can a Home Brew-steamed Black Drum with braised endive, fennel and Home Brew beurre blanc.

Chef Michael Schwartz and Beverage Director Ryan Goodspeed, along with our entire Genuine team are thrilled about Home Brew’s success thus far. Join us for this celebration and as we grow in the coming years.