It is hard to miss the double-sided huge neon crown atop a food truck at the entrance of The Annex Wynwood, a remnant of a 1940s Best Western in Texas.
The dining and lounge area is under a white tent with an open-air patio in back anchored by a Blast beer sign. The tent is annexed to Morgan’s next door on private property. Morgan’s owner Barclay Graebner came up with the menu, and her pastry chef bakes the desserts in that kitchen, shuttling them across the parking lot on trays to the big top.
The food is international comfort fare, from vegetable tempura with sweet soy sauce to huevos rancheros with black beans, plus wood-fired pizza.
Co-owner Steve Harivel was born and grew up in a suburb of Paris called Poitiers, where his father deals in antiques and his mother is a fashion designer. He came to New York when he was 17 to stay with a couple he befriended in a Paris nightclub.
For 10 years, Harivel worked as a bike messenger during the week and sold collectables at a weekend flea market. He also worked in production for fashion photo shoots, and that bought him to Miami in 1996. He stayed, founding Ace Props and renting his vintage finds to fashion shoots.
Graebner is from Connecticut and got her start in food working at Dean & DeLuca market in Washington. She came to Miami the same year as Harivel, opened Blue Dog Bakery (now closed) and then Morgan’s. The two became friends when they did a pop-up for Art Basel two years ago and teamed to open Annex last December.
The space is cooled by large industrial fans scattered between an old wood bar from Belgium and a long, tiled communal table, small tables and mismatched chairs, big leather club chairs, and a U-shaped couch. Beams are hung with potted ferns and ’60s globe lights from Paris.
Every two months, the mobile decor changes with different props from the Ace warehouse. There is an old glass subway ticket booth from France, a collection of kids’ cowboy boots and an old wooden mill wheel among various other objects.
Snacks bring a hot dog with maple bacon and fried onions; soft ripened Belletoile triple cream cheese with paper thin crackers and fig jam; a quesadilla with chimichurri and clams with soy salsa verde. Toasties are grilled cheese sandwiches, including kimchi with mozzarella, gorgonzola with pear, and goat cheese with blueberry jam.
Pizzas range from marinated kale and ricotta to arugula, squash and pomegranate seeds. Mains to try are the house burger with cheddar; 16-ounce prime N.Y. strip steak with warm romaine and prosciutto; whole roasted branzino; or half a roast chicken with pork belly and potatoes. End with a blueberry custard tart in this bohemian spot where leashed dogs are welcome with their humans.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami-based food writer.