4 Restaurant Chefs Pivoting to Homemade Food

6 mins read

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a record number of furloughs and layoffs across the country. This is especially true for the hospitality industry: Overnight, restaurants and bars were ordered shut by local governments, leaving millions without a job. And in a city like Miami that depends heavily on tourism, the effects have been even more pronounced.

To continue honing their skills and stay busy as South Florida works toward a new normal, several local chefs throughout the city have taken to selling delicious food out of their home. Here are a few of the big names offering tasty homemade creations for pickup and/or delivery.

Behn Mi (Benjamin Murray)

After Pao at Faena Miami Beach Hotel shut down and reduced staff a few months ago, its chef Benjamin Murray decided to start up a banh mi shop out of his Downtown Miami dwelling. Benh Mi — an obvious play on the Vietnamese sandwich name — provides hungry locals with affordable DIY kits for pickup.

One kit can make two sandwiches with the protein of your choice. Right now, there are three options to choose from: lemongrass meatball (our favorite), char siu portobello and roasted pork shoulder. Toppings can include umami mayo, pickles, jalapenos, and Murray’s own “funky sauce.” To order, direct message @benh_mis on Instagram. Pickup dates fill up fast so place your request sooner rather than later.

Early Bird Bakeshop (Henry Hane)

If you’re familiar with the local food scene, you’ve likely heard of chef Henry Hane’s Brickell hotspot B Bistro & Bakery. Known for its decadent savory and sweet offerings, B Bistro is built for Instagram — and the food tastes as good as it looks. While waiting for the green light to reopen his beloved establishment, chef Hane started Early Bird 305 with his wife (and pastry chef) Natalia Ocampo. They’re doubling down on sweets, baking cinnamon rolls, babka and other mouthwatering goods to tantalize local taste buds.

Don’t need more sugar in your life? The menu also includes a few savory options, which rotate weekly along with the baked goods. Delivery is available across the county for a fee, and like the other spots on this list, you need to place an order through social media (@earlybird305 on Instagram).

Luna Rossa Cucina Rustica (Juan Rozo)

Pizza lovers rejoice: There’s a new option in town, and it’s called Luna Rossa Cucina Rustica. Behind this Cutler Bay concept is Juan Rozo, who worked at South Miami’s No Name Chinese (RIP) with chef Pablo Zitzmann (more on him later). Unlike his peer who has continued cooking up Asian cuisine, Rozo has opted for Neapolitan-style handmade pizza. Customers can choose from several specialty pies like pepperoni and mushroom, funghi and Nutella or create their own pizza with up to three toppings.

Orders can be placed through social media (@_lunarossacucina on Instagram) for pickup. Delivery is hit or miss, depending on the amount of orders Rozo gets that day. Regardless, the pies are worth the drive.

Zitz Sum (Pablo Zitzmann)

Foodies craving dumplings and other Chinese specialties should look at the offerings from chef Pablo Zitzmann, whose resume includes stints at Nobu, Edition Hotels and other notable kitchens. In 2017, he opened his own restaurant No Name Chinese in South Miami, which gained a loyal local following due to its flavorful fare. Unfortunately, the restaurant shuttered suddenly in 2019 just shy of its second birthday.

With Zitz Sum, chef Zitzman has brought back a handful of No Name favorites plus some new Asian items to keep regulars on their toes. On the menu are tasty selections like pork potstickers, vegetable fried rice, beef and broccoli, and scallion pancakes. It’s a concise list of items, but one that Zitzman hopes to expand on once he gets a bigger space. To order, reach out to @zitzsum on Instagram. Fair warning: He sells out quickly, so you may have to wait a few weeks for your order.

Geoffrey Anderson

Geoffrey Anderson Jr. is a contributing/staff writer for Dish Miami. For over six years, he has covered the South Florida dining scene with his wife for the award-winning local food blog Miami Food Pug. When he's not writing about food, he's eating it—or attending rock concerts and traveling.

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