A Taste of Cypress Tavern, Opening Tomorrow!

Cypress Tavern Flyer_ Exerior Blog

We’ve been working hard over the past month to ready Cypress Tavern and tomorrow’s the big day!  From mind to paper to reality, Michael’s new American Grill & Cocktail Bar is here.  Our words to live by are now emblazoned on the windows at NE 2nd Avenue and 36th Street.  Most importantly, our staff is pumped to share it all with you after a week of intensive training on the spirit of Cypress Tavern, what the concept means, and how it represents Michael and the food we like to eat here at The Genuine Hospitality Group. You’ll recognize some familiar faces… and meet new ones!

Marrow Bones with Garlic Toast

Marrow Bones with Garlic Toast

Cypress Tavern is rooted in top notch food and service with an old world sensibility. Michael evokes the simplicity of classic brasserie fare in Dinner and Weekend Brunch menus.  Little by little, we’ve toured the dishes just as our Front of House team has, using Cypress Tavern’s Instagram to share images of the food they’ve tasted through, as well as the menu descriptions that Chef put together to explain how product is sourced and dishes are prepared in the kitchen.  So far, French Onion Soup is the favorite in show of likes, with Head Bartender David Ferree’s American Vesper that we are calling Mr. Smith a close second.  As for the most comments?  The wood-grilled Harris Ranch 12 oz. NY strip in Steak Frites — which beat out 11 other steaks to earn a spot on Michael’s entrées list!  “It just ate the best,” says TGHG executive chef Bradley Herron.

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DavidThe Tavern’s menus are suited for exploration, offering a nice variety of what Cypress’ kitchen does best, presented in an approachable way and at a great price point. Dinner includes Appetizers, Entrées, Large Plates and an expanded Sides section from the wood burning grill and rotisserie. On Saturday and Sunday, Savory and Sweet plates escalating in size give guests flexibility in crafting their Brunch experience.  The Genuine Hospitality Group Wine & Spirits Director Eric Larkee takes full advantage of Cypress Tavern’s bar with Head Bartender David Ferree.   We like that David is a beer geek and have enjoyed hearing him walk the team through his list including some solid local craft as well as international beers (3 tap and 9 bottles).  Larkee’s got 50 wines by the bottle, and the two have had a lot of fun working on 17 new cocktails (almost as much fun as we have had as their guinea pigs!).  In what has shaped up to be an intelligent mix of classics with some twists, Cypress’ bar offers 10 total cocktails for dinner and 10 for weekend brunch.


The new cypresstavern.com

The new cypresstavern.com

We look forward to welcoming you to a comfortable, classy new restaurant!  Doors open beginning 6PM tomorrow Thursday, October 29 at 3620 NE 2nd Avenue in Miami’s Design District, walk-ins welcome and reservations encouraged.   Call 305.520.5197 or email reservations@cypresstavern.com to book.   Dinner: Tuesday to Thursday 6PM – 11PM, Friday and Saturday until 12AM, and Sunday until 10PM. Weekend Brunch (Beginning this Halloween weekend!): Saturday and Sunday 11AM – 2:30PM. Closed Monday. $5 Design District Valet is available, as well as street parking in the city lot in between 37th and 38th street.  Visit cypresstavern.com for current menus.


Tune In Alert! Michael’s Moveable Feast Episode Debuts on PBS Tomorrow

From a stone crab season ending to another beginning, it’s time for our Miami episode of  Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking, airing Saturday nationwide on PBS!  In Miami, tune into WLRN-TV tomorrow, October 24 at 11:00 a.m. to watch.


FIne Cooking Cover

Find Michael’s recipe for the party’s dessert, grilled peaches with honey and Greek yogurt, in the October/November issue of Fine Cooking magazine on news stands now. Or click here!

A HUGE Biscayne Bay thank you to Related Group for letting us throw a party with a crew of plus ones on their gorgeous Paraiso Bay sales center deck, the envy of all location scouts.   Join host Pete Evans, Australia’s paleo chef, as Michael cooks a meal sourced from our urban jungle with chef Giorgio Rapicavoli.   The first stop is Sublicious Farms for Scott Lyon’s walk-in cooler shipping container-farmed oyster mushrooms, as pretty as the pastel shades of the Bay’s easterly sunsets.  Then it’s off to Casablanca Fish Market to source some fresh catch for Michael’s crab fritters and mixed Florida seafood fideuà.   Watch a preview of the episode below, courtesy of WGBH and Taunton Press Inc., and for our behind the scenes shots of the May 7 shoot, click here.

Cypress Tavern, Michael’s American Grill & Cocktail Bar Opens Thursday, October 29

Tavern postcard e blast_pineapple

Loosening the ties, James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz introduces Cypress Tavern, an American grill and cocktail bar rooted in top notch food and service with an old world sensibility in Miami’s Design District.  Schwartz evokes the simplicity of classic brasserie fare for Dinner and weekend Brunch, with menus that go back to basics and play to a classy, lively experience.  The new restaurant will open at 3620 NE 2nd Avenue on Thursday, October 29.

“The experience at Cypress Tavern is welcoming and warm, one that draws on the essence of what an approachable, elevated dining experience needs to be in Miami,” Schwartz says. “It’s about great-tasting food, great energy, and the room just as it should be, with beer, wine and cocktails to match.”

The Cypress Tavern_Menu_10.20

The Tavern’s menus were developed by chef Schwartz and The Genuine Hospitality Group executive chef Bradley Herron to offer a variety of what Cypress’ kitchen does best presented in an approachable way and at a great price point. Dinner includes Appetizers, Entrées, Large Plates and an expanded Sides section from the wood burning grill and rotisserie. 12 Appetizers range from $12-19. In addition to Oysters on the 1/2 shell with classic mignonette (1/2 dozen 18, dozen 36), highlights are Wood Grilled Giant Prawn with garlic butter and grilled lemon (PA), Citrus Cured Wild Salmon with marinated cucumbers, trout roe, crème fraîche (18), Duck Confit with French lentils and bitter greens (18), and decadent French Onion Soup with melted gruyere on grilled sourdough and presented in a warm lionshead crock (12). Favorites are executed simply, like Marrow Bones with preserved lemon, celery and garlic toast (18) and Steak Tartare with pickled shallot, salsa verde, and potato chips (18).

11 Entrées range from $21-44. Schwartz’s favorite fish, Albacore Tuna, is served Niçoise style (29), Snapper Meunière is tried and true at its freshest, with whipped potato and wilted greens (34). The Cypress Burger dials in its blend of chuck and dry aged trimmings, seared to perfection and melting into Jasper Hill Landaff and onion marmalade on Schwartz’s housemade bun, with thrice cooked fries to the side (22). 1/2 Spit Fired Chicken with crispy new potatoes and smoked paprika aioli (28), a 12 oz. NY makes for solid Steak Frites with salsa verde and thrice cooked fries (44) and Grilled Market Vegetables with sprouted chickpeas, bitter greens, and chermoula sauce (21) show off the best of the kitchen’s wood grill. Old school Pork Schnitzel meets braised red cabbage and mustard sauce (29). Large Plates conjure delicious notes from the wood fired grill, offering a Daily Rotisserie (PA), Whole Wood Grilled Local Fish (44) with roasted chile salsa and a 42. oz. Dry Aged Porter House (96) with bordelaise and béarnaise sauces, each served with a choice of Side. All bases are covered (also served a la carte for 10 ea) – Thrice Cooked Fries, Wood Grilled Mushrooms, Whipped Potatoes, Leeks Gratin, Sautéed Swiss Chard, and Wood Grilled Asparagus.

The Cypress Tavern_Brunch 10.20

On the weekends, 18 Savory ($8-22) plates escalating in size offer guests flexibility to craft their Brunch experience, whether it’s starting with oysters and the Lobster Omelet with fine herbs (15), or Bibb Lettuce Salad with heirloom tomato, radish, black olive, and creamy Meyer lemon dressing (8) and Eggs en Cocotte with spicy tomato, chickpeas, cilantro, scallion and grilled sourdough (14). Today’s Rotisserie (18) features a special spit-roasted protein, like lamb shoulder, served with roasted potatoes and Meyer lemon salsa verde. Extras (8) including thrice-cooked fries, breakfast sausage and wood grilled asparagus are there when you need them. Seven Sweet ($8-19) dishes delicately touch on all the brunch sweet spots like French Toast with fig compote, pistachio, and crème fraîche (12) and Buttermilk Pancakes with smoked Maldon salt, whipped butter and maple syrup (11). The Chocolate Pot de Crème is a silken stunner, served with toasty, sugared brioche cubes.

In addition to a solid beer (3 tap and 9 bottles) and wine (50 bottles) list, The Genuine Hospitality Group Wine Director Eric Larkee takes full advantage of Cypress Tavern’s bar, introducing 10 drinks – including a speckling of Bloody Mary’s and festive sparkling numbers for brunch. In an intelligent mix of classics with some twists, cocktails will include US1 & 75th, the French 75 at its finest with Borgoluce Prosecco, Michter’s US-1 Bourbon, lemon, and simple syrup, and the Dirty Pickle, a martini-lover’s paradise featuring Hendrick’s Gin or Beluga Vodka with cornichon brine and smoked Maldon salt.

Cypress Tavern opens Thursday, October 29 at 3620 NE 2nd Avenue and is now accepting reservations at reservations@thecypressroom.com and 305.520.5197. Menus are available to preview through a link at thecypressroom.com. Hours of operation at opening will be Dinner Tuesday through Thursday from 6-11 p.m., Friday and Saturday until 12 a.m., and Sunday until 10 p.m, and Brunch Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Closed Monday. $5 Design District Valet is available, as well as street parking in the city lot in between 37th and 38th street.

Meet Melissa Welcher, Our New Head Bartender at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink


When asked to mix a cocktail that speaks to her style, Melissa made us this Highwest Double Rye Manhattan, what she likes to drink.  She likes to add a little Cherry Herring to soften the sharpness of the rye.

Melissa Welcher’s approach to mixing drinks is culinary at the core, so she feels right at home at Michael’s Genuine, where she began behind the bar in July and now leads the program as Head Bartender.   Born and raised in a small village outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Melissa grew up with her parents and older sister cooking and baking all the time.  Her childhood was filled with travel and exploration thanks to a family that encouraged the kids to try new things.  After a blush with the fashion industry following college in Wisconsin, she moved to Miami to pursue her passion for culinary arts at Johnson and Wales.  Her culinary journey evolved in the green hills of Bavaria where on weekends she had the opportunity to work in kitchens across the region during a stage in a small town outside Nuremberg, Germany with a Master Chef.


Friday night Happy Hour crowd at HQ.

Melissa still enjoys cooking and often tries new recipes in her home kitchen, but today the front of house is where she feels most fulfilled, interacting with guests and experiencing the satisfaction on their faces from an exceptional meal.

“I was attracted to the bar because I love making something and seeing people enjoy it,” Melissa explains. “My approach is to keep it simple with as little as three but probably no more than six quality, craft ingredients per cocktail.  The food at the table is just as an important as what I can offer behind the bar, so it’s important that our drinks complement the menu, not overpower it.”


Cucumber Cooler, a new cocktail with house-infused dill & cucumber Absolut Vodka, dill, lime, soda, Maldon salt.

True to Melissa’s background, her team’s performance behind the bar depends on its mise en place.  “Checking your set up” as she refers to it, is essential, from making sure all the ingredients they need for service are prepped out, to the tools they need are at hand.  The most important in her kit is (“Definitely!) a jigger.

“The cocktails I like to drink are classics, which are by definition simple,” she says.  “When you don’t have that many ingredients, it really makes a difference.  If you don’t measure them correctly, it can completely ruin the cocktail.”

The Genuine bar is more food driven than ever lately, with the addition of the Raw Bar and extended Afternoon menu last year.

“Working behind the bar, you notice that people tend to eat more than just snacks at happy hour here.  They’re enjoying more complete meals,” she reflects.  “I have a great opportunity to pair cocktails with food.  Our guests are most used to pairings with wine, sure, but they are open to trying new things — especially at the bar.”

When Melissa develops a menu, one of the most important things she keeps in mind is that not everyone is necessarily going to love the drinks she likes.  It’s key that everyone can find something they like on a list. It’s a fun challenge too in crafting cocktails to coax out the flavors you want in the ingredients.

“I think my culinary background helps a lot in training my palate and working to express the best out of the ingredients,” she explains.  “When you are creating a dish, you are trying to imagine the final product, what you are going to experience when you eat it.  It’s trial and error a lot of times which is the fun part.”


Rum & Eve incorporated oven-roasted apples to bring out their flavor.

Take for instance, the new Rum & Eve.   Melissa was playing around with rum and apples for a while.   She tried muddling them, then making a shrub.  How could she nail the essence of apple flavor without processing six apples for one drink, nor making it too sweet?

“We roast them in the wood oven, then juice them,” she says. “It’s a combination of Granny Smith and Honeycrisp, with the perfect ratio to get the right tang and sweetness.”

Melissa is also keen that no spirit be a “unitasker” behind her bar.  She uses Diplomatico rum for Rum & Eve, a Venezuelan rum that is meant for sipping, but really plays well in this preparation.  A spirit like this can be great on its own, but should also be able to function mixed in a drink.

“Eric [Larkee] has a really great palate, so he’s always challenging me in a good way,” Melissa explains.  “We tried the Rum & Eve about seven different times before we were like yes this is IT.   He’ll point out it needs something, but won’t tell me what it is he’s thinking.  It’s a fun back and forth we have, and it’s been very productive so far!”

Her team at the bar all likes to drink different things, so she’s banking on that diversity to create solidarity with the staff and program, which will work to support small batch spirits and quality, favorite brands as it comes together.

“If you are really passionate about something, it’s contagious,” she reflects.  “Soigné was something I learned in culinary school on day three.  To take care of and take pride in.  You do it 100% whether you are doing it just for now or for the rest of your life.”


The Palms are Alive with the Sound of Sangria

Melon Infusion

Melons infusing for sangria compliments of ella at District Sounds, a fall acoustic series kicking off Thursday in Palm Court. Thanks to Vanessa Nunez, kitchen manager and photographer extraordinaire.

Cropped District SoundsIt’s not Tristan Ferchl’s first corrida.   As one of our shift leaders at ella, our café in the Design District’s Palm Court, Tristan is responsible for running the front of house, but we like to think the highlight of his day is crafting the daily sangria.

“It’s more important that the sangria complements the food we do more than sticks to tradition,” he explains.  “I’m looking for lighter flavors, a canvas for seasonal fruit and something that plays well with our lovely warm Miami weather.  It’s always nicer to dine outside on our patio with an glass of sangria to cool you down.”

Tristan’s experience at Cure, an uptown district bar in New Orleans, served him well.  A focus on classic cocktails meant a shelf of fortified wine to play with.  He’s always conscious of two key principles when building a sangria recipe — proportion of wine and sweetness.  First, he usually begins based off of half a bottle of wine per carafe, with leanings toward white.  “We’re currently using the house Albariño… Something crisp which won’t overpower the fruit.”  He adds it’s also a good base for carbonation, either from Pellegrino or Dry Soda flavors like vanilla or blood orange.  Secondly, and maybe even more importantly, sweetness should be kept to a minimum and come from natural sources, i.e. from the fruit itself, not additive sugar, whenever possible.  When used improperly, simple syrup can mask the palate and easily ruin a meal.

Lua Sangria

With a couple bottles left of Lua Rossa No. 2, Tristan moved it out to make way for No. 3 making a red sangria for a change of pace, with cantaloupe and white grapes. It’s been his favorite yet, breaking the mold but keeping it light and fresh.

On Thursday night from 6-8PM, Miami’s Design District launches a weekly live music series curated by Miami Beach Jazz in Palm Court.  This Thursday IOGO’s Adrian Gonzalez and J.J. Freire perform with sangria on us.  Parking is available at City View & Palm Court Garages on NE 38th St between N Miami Ave & 2nd Ave.  Cheersing and see you there with our cocktail bells on.  Tristan’s got a mix planned of Albariño, melons infused by Casoni liqueur, honey and peppermint, blood orange Dry Soda, fresh-cut oranges and rosemary from our garden.  And join us for Happy Hour, when it’s half price from 5-7PM daily!