Michael Schwartz Reflects on 10 Years of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink
On March 13, 2007 Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink officially opened its doors to the public. Located in the then obscure Design District neighborhood — which has since transformed into Miami’s high-end shopping destination — it racked up buzz and accolades from the start garnering international attention, a James Beard award, book deals and launched the Genuine Hospitality empire, which now owns and operates multiple restaurants throughout the country including Harry’s Pizzeria, Fi’lia, Cypress Tavern, and ella cafe.
It’s owner and chef, Michael Schwartz, has been credited amongst many in the Miami restaurant scene as being a pioneer of the farm-to-table movement — well before it was a buzzword, or even now, the norm. And in a city where there’s a new restaurant on every block, and most don’t last more than a few years, Eater Miami sat down with Schwartz to learn about the first 10 years of the restaurant, what he has learned and where he plans to go from here.
Can you believe it’s been 10 years?
Yeah, no, maybe. [laughs] I mean on the one hand it seems like it’s been a 100 years. On the other hand it seems like it’s been 10 minutes. I mean 10 years is a long time in our business. Yeah, I could believe it, I lived it.
What is your overwhelming emotion looking back on what Michael’s has accomplished over the past 10 years.
The overwhelming emotion I would say — there’s a lot of them. I don’t know if I could pick one emotion, it depends on my mood. It depends on the day. I don’t know I would say, “Relief, no.” I would say mostly, “proud.” You know I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished there. I mean far and above from what we’ve set out to do, which is just have a place where we could cook what we want, in an environment that we’re comfortable in. I guess, proud of how it resonated with Miami, and that it had an impact on the dining scene. I’m proud of that.
How would you say the Miami restaurant dining scene has changed in the past 10 years?
It’s changed a lot. I mean it’s evolved, it’s legitimized itself, it’s gotten better. People embrace local products more, chefs branched out and opened their own restaurants. I’m encouraged by how the dining scene has evolved in Miami.