221 Café brings organic cuisine to Miami with a French flair

221 Café brings organic cuisine to Miami with a French flair

Jean and Carène Zaragoza in their 221 restaurant.

Pinecrests residents who work downtown will want to check out the new 221 Café for breakfast or lunch, especially if you enjoy a creative meal prepared with fresh organic products with a French twist.

French couple Jean and Carène Zaragoza moved to Miami and opened the restaurant, but it wasn’t just for the South Florida weather; their goal was to create something special that filled a need. Their 221 Café, at 221 NW 1st Ave., specializes in natural and organic farm-to-table food that offers healthier breakfast and lunch choices.

“We chose Miami not for the climate, but because this area doesn’t have many organic options for breakfast and lunch,” said Carène Zaragoza, who is excited about their location. “It’s an area that is booming. There is so much happening in this area and a lot of construction, like the new train station. There are malls, hotels, businesses, everything.”

She says that creating the restaurant was a labor of love for them, as well as a great adventure. Jean, who was a chef in France, also fashioned intricate woodwork to cover the largest wall of the restaurant, creating a space for guests to relax and enjoy their meals. Carène says she makes all of the pastries daily and they are prepared on sitey at the restaurant.

“My husband and I have thought about every detail of the restaurants design,” Carène said. “Jean is responsible for decoration, with natural and authentic spirit; me for the choice to make an organic restaurant focused on fresh and natural, creating each menu item, each recipe, everything. Jean is very present in the kitchen for everyone to be well trained and he validated all the flavors.”

Their menu has an emphasis on healthy, nutrient rich cuisine and features 100 percent organic smoothies and juices, hormone- free and antibiotic-free meats, along with all-natural and organic cheeses. Their coffee is the famed Panther Coffee brand.

Breakfast choices include omelets, pancakes, bagel sandwiches and many other items. For lunch, there are burgers such as The Farmer, made with breaded chicken topped with bacon, arugula, mild cheddar, creamy mustard sauce and served on a chapatti artisanal bread from Zak the Baker; a roasted veggie burger and a classic organic grass-fed beef burger with lettuce, tomatoes and American cheese on a brioche bun. There are meatballs, cold sandwiches and “toasts” on multigrain bread served with a house salad or homemade soup of the day. They have a number of large salads such as Cobb and Greek Quinoa, and side dishes are also available.

There are a variety of beverages, including organic teas and bottled waters, as well as regular soda fountain drinks, wines and beers. Homemade desserts are also available.

“What I enjoy most about 221 Cafe is having the pleasure of visiting all the local farms and farmers markets to find the best and most fresh products for my customers,” said Carène. “It’s the healthiest option and it really helps the local community.”

She says that they enjoy the customers that come in for their lunch break from work because they are interesting businessoriented people.

“We can learn something new every day from our customers,” she said. “Our 221 Cafe is not only our history, it is also the story of our employees who accompany us every day in this adventure, learning as much as we are. Graydon, Edwin and Leighton are doing a fabulous job in the kitchen; Carlisa, Laura and Angel are establishing a warm and friendly atmosphere in the restaurant.”

The 221 Café is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information call 786-536-2268 or visit www.221cafe.us/.

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