What's not to love about one-stop shopping? You'll never hear us complain about the ability to buy both flip-flops and eggs at Target, or grab flowers with great cheese at Epicure.
So welcome Cooper Avenue, the new multi-hyphenate Miami Beach outpost from Gigi, Bond Street, and Bardot honcho Amir Ben-Zion. Named for the Brooklyn street on which he bought and ran his first bodega at 19, Ben-Zion's 10,000-square foot space in the New World Center off Lincoln Road is more than a light-filled comfy-industrial restaurant: it aims to be a chic but engaging community hub, with an attached bakery, market, newsstand, and bar.
In other words, you can come for brunch, buy an international paper, pop open your laptop to take a meeting in the lounge, toss freshly made to-go items in one of Cooper Avenue's chic straw cooler picnic baskets from Peterborough (since 1854!), grab an art book, hit the beach with Florida made, Cooper-bought sunscreen, and then return for cocktails, grabbing flowers for home on the way out.
Architect Frank Gehry's massive high-ceilinged space is laid out like a large L, with floor to ceiling-windows, polished concrete floors, exposed block walls, and homey wood touches. On the restaurant end, where an open kitchen looks over a dining room populated with worn metal chairs and stools, wait staff serve up comfort food starters like meatballs with tallegio, and fried shallot ($9), crab cakes with sweet corn, grapefruit, and avocado ($12), and mussels in a saffron broth with chorizo ($12).
Lunch offers the tasty Cooper Burger on a pillow-soft house-made bun ($12), while the dinner menu fancies up with the likes of gnocchi with lobster and slow roasted tomato ($18) and braised short ribs with brussel sprouts, natural jus, and celery roots ($22). At all hours, there's steaks and a raw bar with oysters, shrimp cocktail, hamachi, and tuna.
The cool-but-friendly retail midsection is like the world's freshest bodega, with a legion of pastry chefs and cooks turning out bagels, muffins, oven-baked pizzas, desserts, empenadas, breakfast sandwiches and cookies alongside rows and rows of specialty drinks, cheeses, fresh sliced fruit, snacks, and gourmet chocolates. The spot is managed by Rukhsana Uddin, the force behind the endlessly cool store at The Standard, so it's also stocked with chic and unusual items like candles with in-tin matches, fragrant soaps, and photography and artists books.
At the far end is the bar and lounge space, where freelancers and the idle alike are welcome to hang out, work, socialize, and drink Stumptown coffee cocktails or -- let's be honest -- probably some straight stuff, most of the time. Uddin says the Wi-Fi is three times stronger than that of Starbucks', which, combined with alcohol availability, will likely make the spot a fave for mobile workers. Perhaps best of all? The cocktail menu, with its Sazeracs, mules, and Collinses, was put together by local libation kings Bar Lab, and the city's 17th Street garage is just 10 steps away.