We interrupt this Passover with some breaking bread news: New York City’s noted Sullivan Street Bakery is opening a wholesale bakery and retail café in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood.
Sullivan Street owner Jim Lahey, a pioneer of the no-knead bread method and a finalist for this year’s James Beard Foundation award for Outstanding Baker, signed a lease on a space at 5550-5570 NE Fourth Ave., just west of Soyka Restaurant.
“We know there are a lot of great restaurants in Miami, and we’re just really looking forward to forming some quality relationships and making some beautiful bread,” Lahey said Monday.
The bakery will take up about 4,000 square feet of a 12,000-square-foot building known as Lemon City Square, with Lahey entertaining the possibility of also putting a branch of his Co. pizzeria there. Lahey’s partner in Miami: Steven Perricone, whose Upper Eastside Partners LLC paid $2.7 million for the property last May (it had been listed for $3.5 million), records show.
Perricone, whose restaurant operations here include longtime Brickell favorite Perricone’s Marketplace & Café as well as a partnership in Michelle Bernstein’s Michy’s, says he thinks Sullivan Street Bakery’s location will be ideal to servicing restaurants with its fleet of delivery trucks.
“From a wholesale point of view, it’s a great, great spot,” Perricone said. “It’s close to the Design District. It’s close to midtown. It’s close to downtown. It’s close to South Beach, and so forth.”
And he added that its retail component couldn’t come at a better time, when Miami’s Biscayne Corridor is experiencing an upswing led primarily by restaurants.
“When I moved to Miami in 1990, I bought an apartment in the Palm Bay Club at 69th and Biscayne, then I built a house in Belle Meade,” Perricone said. “It’s the only neighborhood I’ve ever lived in down here, and I think what’s happening to it now is tremendous.”
Lahey opened the original Sullivan Street Bakery in New York’s SoHo in 1994. It now has locations in Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea, where he opened a neighboring Co. in 2009. Sullivan Street sells bread to more than 250 New York restaurants, and its retail bakeries are known for their Pugliese bread, footlong strecci flatbreads embedded with toppings like olives or roasted garlic, pizza bianca, and sweets like flourless triple chocolate cookies and more.
And to think, Lahey’s 21-year-old New York bakery that’s coming to Miami was almost a Miami bakery all along.
“Back in 1992, I was working for Joe Allen in New York, and he sent me down to Miami to do two things: Scout a property on Purdy Avenue where he eventually opened Joe Allen Restaurant, and see if I could actually bake bread down there,” said Lahey, who notes that he plans to spend a “significant” amount of time in South Florida to run the bakery here.
“In the end, I decided to stay in New York and open Sullivan Street, because it was my comfort zone. But I never forgot about what I saw in Miami and how much I liked the characters there.”