Zak the Baker is closing his Wynwood deli. Here’s why you don’t need to freak out

Zak the Baker bakery is home to some of the best bread in Miami.
Zak the Baker bakery is home to some of the best bread in Miami.

Zak the Baker’s kosher deli in Wynwood will soon be serving its last hot pastrami sandwich.

But cheer up, Miami – the old cafe is making a comeback.

Owner Zak Stern said the decision to bring back the original Zak the Baker cafe was an easy one.

“People missed the old cafe,” he says, laughing. “They took every opportunity to tell me – when I was working, at the supermarket, when I was taking a walk. Everywhere, they showed their love for the old cafe.”

Stern announced the change in an Instagram post:

Big News: Deli Out, Old Cafe In…….. 3 more weeks to eat hot smoked pastrami, then get yourself ready for the return of the Tuna Melt. Excited to bring the whole ZTB crew back under one roof. CHOMP!

A post shared by Zak The Baker (@zakthebaker) on May 10, 2018 at 12:47pm PDT

The deli at 405 NW 26th St. closes in about three weeks; Stern says he hasn’t decided on the last day yet. Chef Melissa Sosa, who studied kosher cooking at several New York delis, left the deli about a year ago.

With a few adjustments, the bakery at 295 NW 26th St. S will house the new cafe and will stay open during the transition. The cafe will serve breakfast and lunch, and its menu will be more or less a replica of the old one, featuring soups, salads and sandwiches.

And don’t worry – the beloved tuna melt will be on the menu. It’s Stern’s favorite menu item, too.

“It’s warm, it’s craveable, it’s greasy – it feels like meat with all that warm cheese,” he says.

Stern has no regrets about opening the deli; he views the project as staying relevant in the community and trying new things as a vital part of being a successsful restaurateur. The timing was right to close the deli for a variety of business reasons, he says, without going into detail.

“We’ve been very careful in how we grow. We want the growth to be organic.”

He says the move is his way of finding a balance between creatively expressing himself and pleasing loyal customers.

“It’s the difference between being a craftsman and an artist,” he explains. “An artist expresses himself. But we’re in service to the community. . . . We’re part of something here, and I love to have the love and trust of the community.”

Zak Stern says the interior of the bakery will change a little - but not much.