Hardly a week goes by that we don’t report on an out-of-town chef opening a restaurant in Miami, or a Miami restaurateur expanding locally. More rare: A Miami restaurant expanding its footprint out of state.
Macchialina owners Michael Pirolo (chef) and Jen Chaefsky (GM) are set to do just that, taking their rustic-Italian food and hospitality to Asheville, N.C., this spring, as first noted in The Citizen-Times. The couple plans to split their time between South Beach (winter-spring) and Asheville (summer-fall), where Macchialina will be located inside the recently renovated boutique Windsor Hotel.
“After visiting, we fell in love with this fiercely independent town with an exciting, emerging food scene,” Chaefsky says.
Pirolo, whose cooking earned four stars from the Miami Herald and Miami.com while chef de cuisine at Scarpetta and three and a half stars soon after Macchialina’s opening, says he’ll export favorites from his Miami Beach menu to the Asheville restaurant, like beet mezzaluna with brown butter, hazelnuts and poppy seeds.
“I’ve always said Italian food is more about cooking local ingredients and less about following traditional recipes,” Pirolo says. “Expect braised lamb-shank stews, whole salt-baked trout cleaned tableside. Of course, all the pasta is made in-house, and we will also have a small pizza section.”
As for their Miami Beach flagship (820 Alton Rd.), Pirolo and Chaefsky assure that Macchialina South Beach’s quality won’t slip, even when they’re at Macchialina Asheville. Pirolo notes that his sous chef, Ian Tiemann, was recently named one of Zagat Miami’s 30 rising stars under 30 years old.
“The plan is to spend a few months opening [in Asheville], train our No. 2’s through the summer, and be back in Miami by late fall,” Pirolo says. “The opposite seasons will really help us give 100 percent to both restaurants when they need it most.”