NE (Nina Eberlijn)
Concierges are masters of planning, logistics and creating guests’ travel itineraries. We like to plan ahead, but we always tell our guests to keep some time open in their travel itinerary. One day, you might want to sleep in and finish reading those magazines that you brought with you on the airplane. Another day, you might want to return to that particular neighborhood, called Wynwood. On your earlier visit, a few days ago, you found its street art murals so colorful and so bright, just like the Miami sky and sunlight. Now you are curious what more is there to see and do in Wynwood.
JC (Joseph Colon)
Yes, one evening, I decided to visit Wynwood without any plans or an agenda. I wanted to walk around and be surrounded by other people, locals and visitors alike, doing the same. I like the graffiti walls. Often I see something new as the walls are constantly repainted. While walking around, I passed Joey’s Italian Restaurant. Someone just had opened the door. I could smell the pasta, tomatoes and other distinct Italian aromas. Wow, that smells good, I thought. My stomach agreed too. It made that little ‘it is time for dinner’ sound.
Joey’s is actually the first restaurant that opened up in Wynwood in 2008. It is owned by the Goldman family. The family prides themselves on rejuvenating urban areas. The Goldman family is also the driving force behind the Wynwood Walls. They have invited many graffiti artists to the neighborhood, once a warehouse district. After they opened up their second restaurant, Wywnood Kitchen and Bar, more restaurants and cafes followed, such as Panther Coffee and Wood Tavern. The latest dining additions are R House and Shikany. A few breweries, like Wynwood Brewing Company, and design stores, like Frangipani and Elemental, have established themselves in Wynwood too.
Joseph, what did you think about Joey’s interior design and ambiance?
Joey’s calls itself a modern, Italian café. The restaurant has a basic decor with concrete floors, marble tables, a glass mosaic mural and a blackboard with the specials of the day. I would not call it fine dining, but nice dinning. In the open kitchen you can see the staff preparing your meals. Outside there is an al fresco garden terrace which is separated from the street by a tall green hedge.
The outside garden terrace is perfect for Miami’s winter months. Once I had a very enchanting al fresco dinner there. We had a bottle of smooth velvety Chianti and ordered one of Joey’s famous pizza. How did you start your evening?
All my adventures, planned or unplanned, start with trying out the house signature drink. Have you noticed that sangria has made a comeback? Most restaurants have it on the menu again. Usually a choice is offered between red and white sangria. The sangria at Joey’s was excellent.
What made the sangria so wonderful?
For one thing their sangria was very appealing to the eye. Big chunks of water melon and mango were being used as garnish and stuck to the side of the glass. It was not your typical ‘fruit chucks on the bottom’ sangria.
What can you tell me about the menu?
Simple, straightforward, home style Italian cooking with salads, antipasti, pasta’s, pizza and seafood. I started with the Bruchetta Fresca. It came with toasted ciabatta, cherry mozzarella, basil seasoned tomatoes and oregano.
How about your main dish?
It was the pasta smell that drew me in so I kept it simple. You can judge a chef by how well he or she prepares simple, classic dishes. I ordered the Spaghetti al Pomodoro. The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente, firm enough, with the right amount of tomato sauce, not soupy or too dry, which made for a perfect swirl around my fork.
No Italian meal is complete without a desert. You know I have a sweet tooth.
I had the sampler plate. It came with a piece of tiramisu, a brownie and a slice of apple pie. The brownie was my favorite. It was warm and moist and it had some sweet powdered sugar on top.
Joseph, thank you for sharing your off the beaten path, no agenda adventure. I look forward to the next one!
**Insider Tip with Nina
Before or after your dinner, visit the Wynwood Walls next door. The walls are curated. They are not considered graffiti (an illegal activity), but street art. My favorite Wynwood Wall artists are Kenny Scharf and Lady Aiko. If you want to learn more about the Wynwood street art scene and take something home with you, stop at Frangipani (located in between Joey’s and the Wynwood Walls) and pick up the book I’m in Miami Bitch – The Disappearing Street Art of Wynwood.
2506 NW 2nd Avenue
Wynwood, Miami, FL 33127
2516 NW 2nd Avenue
Wynwood, Miami, FL 33127