Chef Dewey LoSasso has joined Schnebly Winery and Miami Brewing Co. in Homestead as culinary director, effective immediately, Miami.com has learned.
In the new role, LoSasso is going to work with Schnebly founder Peter Schnebly to create, first, a pop-up, weekends-only restaurant on the farm, followed in the coming years by a brick-and-mortar restaurant; a retail market selling Schnebly-grown salsas, jams and hot sauces; a catering facility; and — eventually —- a boutique bed-and-breakfast.
“Peter and I have been friends for 11 years and have always talked about doing something like this that is literally farm-to-table,” LoSasso says. “Not even farm-to-table. Farm-to-farm!
“The other day, I was playing around with spent grains from a batch of [Miami Brewing Co.] beer,” LoSasso continues, “and I added some dried mangoes, carambola and charred peppers that I picked from the farm. That’s what I love about this.”
The move ends LoSasso’s one-year tenure as executive chef at AQ at the Acqualina Resort & Spa in Sunny Isles Beach. LoSasso says the split was amiable; it is unclear who will succeed LoSasso in AQ’s kitchen.
Prior to AQ, LoSasso helped The Forge in Miami Beach emerge from a multimillion-dollar makeover, running its culinary operation from 2010 through 2013. He is perhaps best known locally for North 110, his unassuming, comfortably upscale restaurant along North Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard corridor.
It was during the North 110 era that LoSasso met Peter Schnebly and fell in love with the sense of place he tasted in Schnebly’s wines fermented with Homestead-grown fruit. LoSasso kept Schnebly’s wines on his menu at North 110 and incorporated them into dishes at the Forge.
“Dewey and chef Allen [Susser] were really the two guys down here who have supported what we’ve been doing since Day One,” Schnebly says. “Dewey has always expressed an interest in doing a restaurant down here. His end game in life is to be here, on the farm, cooking with our food. And, I mean, we grow food for a living. Why wouldn’t we have a restaurant to support that?”
Schnebly recently purchased 10 acres adjacent to his property, increasing his farm’s size to 30 acres. Part of the space will be turned into a 17,000-square-foot new brewery for Miami Brewing Co., which has been producing craft beers since 2011 (the winery has been open since 2004).
“We want people to have this experience where you walk up to our lagoon, and around it you have the winery, the brewery, the restaurant, the market, the catering space,” Schnebly says.
He also bought a 30-foot trailer outfitted with a kitchen for LoSasso to use as his pop-up commissary until they build their restaurant, likely in about two years. That, plus Caja China pig-roasting boxes, should keep the several hundreds of guests that Schnebly receives each weekend well-fed as they chill out on the farm with a bottle of wine or a growler of beer.
Look for the pop-up dining events to begin in February, around Valentine’s Day (LoSasso is toying with the idea of an all-local surf-and-turf with spiny lobster and Florida grass-fed beef), with Friday and Saturday service until the restaurant opens.
For LoSasso, a former Mango Gang member and New Jersey son, this ambitious new project in south Miami-Dade is something he says he always hoped to create.
“I’m on a farm,” he says this week from Homestead. “The sun is setting. It feels right.”