Mama Joon Brings Veg-Forward, Mediterranean Fare in a Chic Setting

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On November - 4 - 2019

Set in a beautiful atrium with a backyard waterfront patio on the Collins Canal, Mama Joon features vegetarian-forward, homestyle Mediterranean cuisine with a strong Lebanese influence.

Located in the sprezzatura atrium of the hotel, Mama Joon is a refreshingly inviting, family-style restaurant that draws inspiration from the Lebanese background of Life House Founder and CEO, Rami Zeidan. When creating the menu for Mama Joon, Rami sat with his stepmom, who is like a mother to him, and handpicked some of their favorite family recipes. The new recipes, now with a Miami twist, came to life collaboratively with the local culinary team, Executive Chef Harry Capacetti from Matador Room and Bar and Restaurant Director, Hakien Pagan, from the EDITION Hotel at the helm.

“We take great pride in creating and delivering on elegant, high quality food and drinks, and seek to serve the people, not just the elite. We’re really excited to partner with Rami and the Life House team to make Mama Joon an accessible experience,” said Chef Capacetti.

From the same brand that brought Miami Life House, Little Havana and Cuban-inspired Parcela Cafe, Mama Joon continues to showcase the brand’s refreshingly authentic and creative approach through the development of another locally inspired restaurant and bar.

We approach everything we do through the lens of the neighborhood and the local culture to solve for a combination of what’s contextual and what’s missing. Traditional Lebanese cuisine is based on the rhythm of the seasons and locally available produce. It combines the many influences of those cultures that have occupied the country, all of which organically speak to the neighborhood as well as our healthy, sustainability-conscious brand pillars,” said Zeidan. “I have a particularly personal connection to the story as Life House was born out of my cultural discoveries growing up in a Lebanese family in a homogenous Minnesota community. After a childhood of being uncomfortable with my heritage, I’m really excited to now be able to share this story with the universe and doing so with the amazing team we have put together.”

Mama Joon will be open all day with a particular focus on dinner, a lively weekend brunch, as well as an afternoon tea program that will launch later this winter. The menu features a variety of signature dishes that are all meant to be shared and range from $14 to $32.  

“The menu was designed so our guests who want to eat vegetarian can do so and feel the menu was created just for them,” noted Zeidan.

The dining experience begins with a breaking of bread to set the tone for the meal. Upon sitting down guests will receive a selection of fresh Mediterranean breads, from a carta di musica to a manousheh depending on the season, to share amongst the table. Another signature shareable item is “Mama’s Mezze” – a mixture of authentic and modern Mediterranean dips and dishes set in colorful ceramics including a house Labneh, house-made Marinated Chili Feta, and Tabouli, among others served with Zaa’tar Manousheh. While some dishes are taken literally from the Levant region in the Eastern Mediterranean, the menu more commonly takes familiar Lebanese spices and flavors, and applies them creatively to create a unique and modern dish including a house Zaa’tar Mix and a Spicy House Harissa. Other dishes include a Spicy Eggplant Toast, with serrano pepper infused house-made eggplant puree and a fresh vegetable garnish served on a warm, ghee-dusted local bread; a Haloumi and Avocado Herb Manousheh; and Roasted Cauliflower with crispy delicata squash, lemon, capers, sunflower seeds and herbs. Other standout dishes include succulent Lamb Chops; Kafta served with cucumber relish, olives, and mint; and a Zaa’tar dusted local Corvina Fish Filet with chili roasted carrots, sautéed spinach, and a house-made spiced yogurt.

Mama Joon fosters a sense of community and openness whether guests are gathering inside the inviting,  high-ceiling dining room or grabbing a table on the lush green terrace overlooking the calm waters of Collins Canal, created by John Collins, the ambitious Quaker merchant credited for populating the barrier island with sustainable farming practices and trade. The space is decorated with Persian and Moroccan rugs sourced locally, macramé and handwoven tapestry produced by local artisans, as well as oversized custom hand-spun woven pendants to anchor the space.

The restaurant’s soulful and captivating environment spills into the hotel’s lobby, where guests can enjoy Mama’s Cafe coffee and tea creations during the day which transforms into Mama’s Bar at night, serving up creative cocktails paired with curated programming. The cocktail program will focus on refreshing, low ABV spritz cocktails that take their inspiration from the Mediterranean coastline and feature ingredients like falernum, kaffir lime and herb infused Mastika.

Life House, Collins Park tells the story of a merchant’s residence with a subtle nod to Quakerism and streamline art deco. The 52-room hotel features a distinct and accessible luxury experience in the heart of the rapidly growing Collins Park neighborhood. Life House, Collins Park and Mama Joon offer a breath of fresh air for travelers and locals alike who want to experience the less trafficked part of the Miami Beach, the art and culture of Collins Park, as well as food and drinks by rising stars tucked in the hotel’s backyard on the Collins Canal.

Mama Joon is located inside Life House, Collins Park at 2216 Park Avenue, Miami Beach. Mama Joon is open Monday through Sunday through from 7AM to 11PM and the lounge is open until 1:30AM. For more information visit www.lifehousehotels.com.

 

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