Fi’lia was supposed to be the restaurant where James Beard award winner Michael Schwartz put his spin on the Italian American classics of his youth — but as of Friday, it won’t be Schwartz’s vision in the kitchen.
Schwartz and the SBE Entertainment Group, which developed Fi’lia together, have split, Schwartz said Friday. SBE will take his name off the Brickell restaurant at 1300 S. Miami Ave. in the SLS hotel and eventually change the menu he developed. Schwartz was not involved at another Fi’lia SBE opened in Miami Beach in January and the menu is completely different from its Brickell cousin.
“We put a lot of heart and soul into it. It’s unfortunate, but life goes on,” Schwartz said.
Schwartz will retain ownership of a Fi’lia at the SLS Bahamar resort in Nassau, Bahamas, because of a different ownership deal, he said. But SBE has the rights to open more Fi’lia restaurants without Schwartz’s input.
“SBE will continue to host the Fi’lia concept across its current and future hotels as SBE forges ahead with its robust pipeline of properties and venues around the world,” SBE wrote in a release. “The goal will be to bring the brand to key markets in the U.S., including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and global gateway markets in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.”
The Related Group sold the SLS in January for $43 million, according to The Real Deal, and Schwartz said that hastened the split with SBE, which ran the Brickell restaurant.
In March 2017, Fi’lia earned 3.5 out of 4 stars (Excellent) from the Miami Herald, which called it “the newest gem in Schwartz’s jewel box.”
Schwartz, meanwhile, is on to other projects. He is expanding his Genuine Pizza, formerly Harry’s Pizzeria, to Aventura, Miami Beach and Atlanta. He is planning a Cleveland location for Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink, which earned him the 2010 James Beard Foundation award for best chef in the South for the restaurant in the Design District.