Mom was worried.
As they sat down to their Sunday family dinner at Jorgie Ramos’ parents house, everyone else was behind the idea of Ramos’ big plans: reopening his itinerant Barley restaurant in early May in Downtown Dadeland while simultaneously opening a new pop-up pizza shop two doors down as early as April 25.
“Have some faith — faith in pizza,” he told her. “She was freaking out a little, like all good Cuban moms, concerned we were getting in over our heads.”
Thus, Faith & Pizza was born — and with good karma. Ramos agreed to give all the profits (after covering costs) to charity for the first six months, and the landlord, DHPI, LLC, agreed to cover their rent during that time. The proceeds will be split among three charities: Live Like Bella, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and Autism Speaks.
It’s a win-win: money goes to charity, Ramos takes a low risk and Duncan Hillsley gets a tax write off and fills space left vacant when Flippin’ Pizza went out of business earlier this year. If Ramos can make the numbers work, he said he will keep Faith & Pizza.
“It’s a good test for myself,” Ramos said. “It’s something I can have fun with without the added risk.”
All the risks are on the menu.
Faith & Pizza borrows from Barley’s gastropub and adds to it a raw bar and gourmet pizzas. On Ramos’ proposed menu are balsamic-glazed baby back ribs and pork cheek meatballs for appetizers. The raw bar will have a fresh selection of oysters and shrimp.
The highlight, naturally, are the 10 specialty pizzas. They include oxtail with a French onion soup puree, fontina cheese and arugula; Filipino sisig, made with crispy pig’s head meat, red chili and a farm fresh egg; and shaved asparagus with garlic and challot confit.
Ramos also looks to boutique shops such as Babe Froman Fine Sausages and Miami Smokers for artisan sausage and bacon.
If Ramos, a self-taught cook, can take risks with Faith & Pizza its because of his success with Barley, which, since it opened in 2015, survied several name changes and a spat with the previous landlord that forced the restaurant to move. Still, the nucleus of the staff remained with Ramos and joins the team when they reopen in May.
Ramos’ father, Jorge Sr., will still be out front at Barley, shaking hands and calling people by name. He will be making pit stops at Faith & Pizza, where Barley’s former sous chef Kevin Ortega will run the kitchen.
That’s the kind of gourmet lineage that encouraged Downtown Dadeland’s developers to take a risk on Ramos in the name of charity — and future business.
“We are looking to build something that will make Downtown Dadeland a restaurant destination,” said Shane Hillsley, a managing partner with Duncan Hillsley, which co-developed Downtown Dadeland. “We love the idea he had.”
Faith & Pizza
8945 SW 72nd Pl., Miami
Barley: An American Brasserie
8975 SW 72nd Pl., Miam