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New Yorkers love coming to Miami, though one thing they love to do while visiting is brag about the wonders of New York’s dining scene. From pizza and bagels to sushi and craft cocktails, it seems that nothing in Miami can match the caliber of the food offered up North.
Luckily, things have started to change in the Magic City. In the last few years, we’ve not only developed a vibrant and diverse culinary scene of our own, but also seen a slew of New York eateries branch out all over town, allowing us to partake in NYC-worthy feasts without having to hop on a plane.
Looking for a classic NY-style pizza by the slice? Pizza Tropical serves up killer options from the folks behind Brooklyn’s Best Pizza. Got a hankering for a Neapolitan pie? Lucali has you covered. Prefer non-traditional toppings? Hit Artichoke Pizza or Paulie Gee’s.
The list goes on and the trend shows no sign of stopping, which begs the question—why are so many NYC restaurateurs expanding to the Magic City?
Certainly, Miami’s appeal as an international destination and tourism hub has played a big role in the equation. As a result, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the majority of these Big Apple eateries have chosen touristy South Beach as their locale.
The seasonal influx of New Yorkers escaping the cold winter months was also a factor for some. “Many of our clientele from NYC either live in Miami part-time or tend to travel down here and vice versa,” says Eric Bromberg, owner of Blue Ribbon restaurants. “Throughout the years, we've heard from those customers that they'd love to see a Blue Ribbon down in Miami,” he adds.
Because locals are key for sustainability, several restaurateurs have set their eyes on our city’s residential neighborhoods. Such is the case with Jason Weisberg, who preferred to bet on the up-and-coming Upper East Side for his pizzeria Paulie Gee’s. “For us, it was more important to be a neighborhood spot before anything else. Our plan was to cater to a local clientele and complement it with out-towners who see Paulie Gee’s as a food destination.”
Chef and owner Daniel Boulud decided on Downtown for his new Mediterranean concept named Boulud Sud. Similar to his Lincoln Center location, the restaurant caters to a business lunch crowd and nighttime diners looking to enjoy a meal before catching a show in the nearby performance arts centers.
To our delight, many of these NYC transplants are bringing their signature dishes with them. From Upland’s gargantuan roasted short rib and Blue Ribbon’s oxtail fried rice, to Scarpetta’s famous spaghetti with tomato sauce and Azabu’s shredded chicken salad, there are many ways to get a taste of the Big Apple in the 305.
In the case of Prohibition-style bar and restaurant Employees Only, the venue originally debuted as a close replica of the West Village sister property. “Our design is very old school New York. People here love it because we are very different from anything else that’s on South Beach,” said co-founder Billy Gilroy. D.J. booths and an enclosed patio for imbibing al fresco have also been added to the venue to better cater to clients in South Beach.
Naturally, many chefs are also making adaptations for the local market, coming up with some lighter, warm-weather friendly options or adding Latin-inspired twists to the mix. “Our Miami menu is a bit lighter due to its tropical setting,” said Upland Chef Justin Smillie. “We have some raw items on the menu at Upland in New York, but in Miami there's a dedicated raw section with dishes like the Drunken Snapper with tequila, cilantro, and key lime.”
In the end, it looks that they don’t refer to Miami as New York’s sixth borough for nothing. Besides the high number of part-time and permanent residents originating from the Big Apple, we now boast a long list of its restaurants as well. And the best part is that we are blessed with warm weather and great beaches to boot, which is certainly something to brag about!