The South Beach Wine & Food Festival is back and bigger than ever. Let the culinary indulgence begin.
It takes just two simple words to get Miamians and New Yorkers salivating: Shake Shack. For that (and countless other success stories), diners around the world have Danny Meyer to thank. Now his peers are returning the favor and honoring the CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and best-selling author with the SBW&FF’s biggest nod of all: the Tribute Dinner. What was your reaction when you learned you were being honored? No. 1 was disbelief. No. 2 was a sense that I must be getting old. [laughs] It’s really an honor for my company. I go through life trying to do the best I can, but I’m not the guy cooking food, opening the wine, getting your coat back… I [win] along with my colleagues. When you opened your first restaurant, Union Square Cafe, back in 1985, did you think you’d someday run an empire? Absolutely not! I was just trying to get my entrepreneurial itch to calm down. Now you’ve got at least a dozen restaurants and the original has taken the top place in Zagat nine times. What’s the secret to keeping a restaurant relevant in a city like New York? You have to develop an amazing relationship with your staff, community and suppliers. Then the restaurant develops soul. Joe’s Stone Crab—that place has soul. It’s something you can palpably feel. When did you know the time was right to get into casual food establishments? The catalyst was having opened Blue Smoke in 2002. It was our first non-three-star-aspirational restaurant. We saw how much fun it was to serve 1,000 people a day. But Shake Shack was an accident. It wasn’t designed to be anything but an opportunity to help revive the Madison Square Park Conservancy. What does it take to be a successful restaurateur? It’s not a great business if you just like going to parties and think it’s neat to have a restaurant. It’s a great business if your greatest pleasure is providing pleasure to other people. If you’re the kind of person who is happiest making other people happy, you stand a pretty good chance at succeeding. Feb. 22, 7pm, Tickets $500. Loews Miami Beach Hotel, 1601 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, sobefest.com
“He changed the face of my food with his spices,” says chef Michelle Bernstein (Michy’s, Crumb on Parchment) regarding Lior Lev Sercarz, the world-renowned spice master and founder of La Boîte in New York. At Spice It Up!, a dinner focused exclusively on flavor, Sercarz, Bernstein, and chefs Michael Solomonov from Zahav in Philadelphia and Aaron Brooks of Edge Steak and Bar in Miami will take inspiration from their global travels and blend their talents in a zesty four-course meal guaranteed to make taste buds tango. Feb. 21, 7pm. Tickets $250. Edge Steak and Bar, 1435 Brickell Ave., Miami, sobefest.com
Click here for our digital edition to read more about everything related to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival.