Eat here: Bessie’s Bistro

Lit menorah with latkes (potato pancakes) and jelly doughnuts at the Jewish Museum of Florida, Miami Beach. They will be served from toady through December 29th in Bessies Bistro, the museum cafe to celebrate Hanukkah, the festival of light. Photo: Linda Bladholm.

Thanks to the new café at the Jewish Museum of Florida, hungry visitors can now grab a nosh after contemplating the collection. The narrow space between the two oldest synagogues on Miami Beach was recently transformed into Bessie’s Bistro.

The cafe is named for Bess Myerson, Miss America 1945, the only Jewish beauty queen to win the pageant. Her parents lived in the neighborhood around the museum in the 1970s, and to honor their memory Myerson donated most of the funds to build the sleek, skylighted structure that links the two buildings. She also donated her memorabilia to the museum, where old black-and-white photos of her grace the walls.

The casual, self-serve café offers pastries, wraps, salads and sandwiches. There are also ba-tampte (‘‘tasty” in Yiddish) treats such as stuffed cabbage, knishes and matzoh ball and cabbage soups. (Soups are hot; ask the bistro manager to zap the other dishes for you in a microwave.) Try the smoked Norwegian salmon, cream cheese and chive wrap, or egg salad on multigrain. Heartier appetites can be satisfied with roast beef on a kaiser roll. There are also coffee drinks and bottled Israeli fruit juices. The food is supplied by Miami Beach’s Emerald Catering and is strictly kosher.

Museum members can drop in anytime; others have to pay the museum entrance fee first. It’s well worth a visit to soak up the Mosaic exhibit that traveled around Florida and was the vision of Marcia Jo Zerivitz, the founding executive director and chief curator of the museum.

Bessie’s Bistro, The Jewish Museum of Florida, 301 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-672-5044; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues-Sun. Jelly doughnuts $1.25, latkes three for $2.50, pastries $1-$2.95, wraps and sandwiches $6.95-$10.95, salads $6.95-$7.95

FYI: General museum admission $6, seniors $5, students $2.50.

Published: 12/08

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