“Timing is everything,” says Michael Schwartz (above) when asked to explain the wild success—and longevity—of his Miami Design District bistro Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink (130 NE 40th St.; 305-573-5550).
It opened in 2007, when the farm-to-table movement was in full swing and a mini backlash was brewing against the lavish and swank. “It was a moment when people were ready to redefine what fine dining was, and that it didn’t have to mean getting dressed up to go to a fancy place where you’d talk quietly.” Almost overnight, Schwartz’s menu and simple, loft-like room earned him praise. “I’m not going to say I knew Prada, Cartier and Louis Vuitton would spring up next to me,” laughs the 50-year-old, who went on to open Harry’s Pizzeria (3918 North Miami Ave.; 786-275-4963) and The Cypress Room (3620 NE Second Ave.; 305-520-5197).
Though in the end, it’s not the zip code but rather his memorable dishes—especially the particularly outstanding côte de boeuf—that fueled the Schwartz frenzy.