Michael Schwartz’s Summertime Pop-Up Ella Opens in the Design District

Summer is notoriously Miami’s “slow season,” and restaurants will sometimes have abbreviated hours. But that’s not the case for the Genuine Hospitality Team, which recently opened its summertime pop-up ella, a quaint cafe inside the Design District’s Palm Court.

The pop-up restaurant named after Schwartz’s eldest daughter, Ella, is planning to stick around the Design District for at least six months but has hopes of becoming permanent fixture in the neighborhood down the line.

ella restaurant interior

Photo: ella interior

The small light-filled space features floor to ceiling windows with artwork from Craig Robins’ personal collection. The feeling is warm and inviting. As I walked in to place my order, I was quickly greeted by the friendly staff including Ella herself, a recent high-school grad who works at the restaurant at least five days a week.

The café has limited indoor seating, eight seats to be exact, with the majority of the restaurant’s seating outside. I’d be lying to say I was hesitant about that since being outside in Miami for longer than five minutes during the summer months is brutal, but it was surprisingly pleasant with a nice breeze coming off of Palm Court.

The pop-up is really a collective project from all the big players in the Genuine Hospitality universe. While I was walking in I spotted The Cypress Room’s Roel Alcudia bringing in a fresh batch of rotisserie chicken to put in salads, sandwiches or to sell on its own. He told me they prepare the chicken there daily and just walk it over to ella. When I was placing my breakfast order Michael’s Genuine executive chef Bradley Herron was working the line helping to assemble breakfast sandwiches, and later in the day while I was using its free wifi on the patio, I chatted with Genuine Group’s wine director Eric Larkee who stopped by the restaurant to check in on things and help make their daily sangria.

ella food

Photo: ella restaurant

As for the menu it consists of breakfast, lunch and mid-day snacks allowing you to eat all day if you so desire. The menu is traditional cafe fare — sandwiches, soups, pastries, salads — but it has the Genuine Hospitality touch that you find at all its restaurants: simple but elevated. Breakfast items are served every weekday until 11 a.m. with options like the English muffin sandwich filled with bacon, egg and cheese — a favorite amongst the Michael’s Genuine team I was told— hearty 9-Grain Pancakes and homemade everything bagels topped with beet-cured salmon that was some of the best I’ve ever tried in South Florida.

The lunch menu begins at 11 a.m. and offers an assortment of classic dishes like a grown-up grilled cheese crusted with Parmesan and filled with gooey cheese and caramelized onions and veggie tacos served on fresh corn tortillas made by South Beach taqueria, Taquiza.

Certain items are available all-day long such as its Avocado Toast, which is a dish I typically roll my eyes at, but this one was different as ella’s variety is made with True Loaf bread topped with butter, Haas avocados and olive oil. That’s right, three different fats. Is it diet friendly? No. Is it delicious? Absolutely.

ella restaurant

Photo: ella restaurant

ut if you have a sweet tooth or are looking for a mid-day pick me up, a rotating assortment of pastries from True Loaf and house-baked cookies are also available all-day long along with a variety of Panther Coffee options.

The restaurant also serves as a charming happy hour destination with plenty of wines by the glass, including a house rose wine that is a favorite of Michael Schwartz himself, that pair perfectly with the plentiful cheese board that could easily feed a small family.

ella is located in the Design District’s Palm Court at 140 NE 39th Street, Space 136 and is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday to Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. ella offers takeout and will accept all major credit cards. For more information, visit ellapop.me or follow the café on Instagram and Twitter @ellapopmiami.

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