Friday, February 10, 2017

National Pizza Day at Paulie Gee’s Miami

Paulie Gee’s Miami recently opened in the up-and-coming MiMo neighborhood at 8001 Biscayne Boulevard (near the intersection of 79th Street). The pizzeria took over the art deco space formerly home to the China Palace and the restaurant’s original signage can now be found in the bar area. We were excited to visit the pizzeria not only because we were looking forward to a slice of Brooklyn down in Miami, but also because we had photographed the original China Palace sign back when it was still in business.

The owner, Jason Weinberg told us that he worked with Paulie Gee at his Greenpoint restaurant, learning all the recipes and his pizza making process, before deciding to open this first Southeast franchise of Paulie Gee’s.  Jason told us, “I picked this neighborhood, because it was up-and-coming. I spent over a year-and-a half traveling back and forth from New York while this place was undergoing renovation.” “I wanted to pay homage to the space’s past by preserving the signage.”

The renovation has revealed a stunning interior with columns painted over the years with layers of distressed paint in yellows, reds, blues, and greens now given a clear coat of enamel and the original ceiling of pecky cypress, a rare wood that was very desirable in 1941 at the time of the building’s construction, providing a contrast to the cement floors.

Just like the NYC Paulie Gee’s in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the signature creatively topped pizzas are all cooked in a Stefano Ferrara wood-fired oven, complete with a tiled sun logo flanked by lemons.  Jason told us that, "Our wood-fired ovens operate at about 950 degrees F and cook the pies in just 90 seconds.” Jason also welcomed our pittie Hudson in, as the restaurant is pet-friendly!

Street-art inspired artwork hangs throughout the restaurant and there even is an old-school pinball machine, which our dog Hudson, was extremely fond of. He did have trouble staying off the tilt though...
 Weisberg serves many of the specialty pizzas that can also be found at Paulie Gee’s in Greenpoint, including the “Ricotta Be Kiddin’ Me” (below) topped with fresh mozzarella, Canadian bacon, sweet Italian fennel sausage, fresh basil and post-oven fresh ricotta dollops and the “Hellboy” topped with fresh mozzarella, Italian tomatoes, Berkshire hot soppressata, Parmigiano Reggiano and Mike’s Hot Honey, as well as many vegan pies including the “In Ricotta Da Vegan” made with vegan tomato sauce, house made vegan fennel sausage, post oven house-made cashew ricotta dollops, baby arugula and extra virgin olive oil.

Weisberg has also created some new pizza creations that can only be found in Miami including The “Octopus’ Garden” topped with fresh mozzarella, garlic, arugula, and seasoned octopus, and the “Jewbano” topped with Swiss cheese, yellow mustard, Canadian bacon, pulled pork, and kosher dill pickles. Fellow diners Gabriela and Maria had the “Octopus Garden” pizza and the “In Ricotta Da Vegan” which they both raved about.

We had two pies. The first pie we chose was the “Brian DeParma” topped with Italian tomatoes and Parmigiano Reggiano which was prepared by both owner Jason and his assistant Orlando...

The pizza and salads are even served on Asian-inspired plates.

New York businessman, Gordon and Evan, eating in the bar area had an off menu pizza special topped with prosciutto di Parma, baby arugula, and Parmigiano Reggiano that brought them “right back home” minus the snowstorm.

For our second pizza we enjoyed the “Greenpointer” topped with fresh mozzarella, baby arugula, olive oil, fresh lemon juice and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano...

While enjoying our pies we noticed, near the entrance, shelving displayed colorful cans of imported tomatoes and a wooden pizza peel personalized by famed Brooklyn pizzaiolo, Dom DeMarco of DiFara’s Pizza.

We highly recommend dining at this new MiMo pizzeria for lunch and/or dinner. They serve wine and local craft beers and also have desserts including vegan ice cream.
Paulie Gee's Miami is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 6pm-10pm, Thursday- Saturday 12-11pm and Sunday 12pm-10pm. They are closed on Mondays.

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