Tastes of Philly and Tel Aviv in Wynwood
South Florida just got a double dose of Philadelphia’s dining scene with the opening of Federal Donuts and Dizengoff in Wynwood. Co-owned by James Beard Award winners chef Michael Solomonov and restaurateur Steven Cook of CookNSolo, the small side-by-side eateries feature specialized menus showcasing comfort foods on both ends of the spectrum – donuts and fried chicken, and hummus with seasonal toppings.
And despite ongoing street construction, both Federal Donuts, which opened in June, and the just-opened Dizengoff, have seen a steady stream of foot traffic – and, in a town known for its warmth but not necessarily its hospitality, open arms and mouths.
“We feel welcome here,” says Cook.
Dizengoff, named after one of Tel Aviv’s boulevards, is modeled after a hummusiya, a hummus stall found in Israel. Their first location opened in Philadelphia three years ago, followed by other stands at a Whole Foods Market and at Chelsea Market in New York City. But cosmopolitan Miami may make even more sense for the concept, says Solomonov. “It’s an international city in the same way as Tel Aviv.
There are a lot of synergies between the Miami culture and Dizengoff that I think will shine.”
“Miami’s climate is more like Israel’s,” adds Cook. The menu is fresh and simple, serving hummus made fresh each day topped with rotating seasonal garnishes like corn and lamb merguez with cabbage, accompanied by pita baked fresh daily in a hearth. Side dishes of Israeli vegetable salads can include housemade Yemenite pickles and beets with tehina. Dishes are “easily vegan,” he says. Dizengoff will be looking at local sources for produce during South Florida’s winter growing season.
A frozen lemonnana – a slushie made with fresh lemon and mint – is just the right amount of refreshing tartness for 90-degree summer days, though Cook says the kitchen has been toying with the sweetness levels. “Is it too sweet?” he asks. (It’s just right.) When their license comes through, Israeli wine and craft beer will also be on the menu.
Prices for hummus range from $10. On Sundays, they’ll also serve shakshuka, a baked egg dish in spiced tomato and pepper stew.
Next door, Federal Donuts donuts-and-fried-chicken concept adds their own special crunchy fried spin to a town where designer donut spots like Mojo Donuts, The Salty Donut and Honeybee Donuts have been trending. Fried chicken flavors include seasonings like za’atar and coconut curry and orders come with a honey donut. Their fried chicken sandwich ($7.50) is a boneless chicken breast, buttermilk ranch seasoning, American cheese, dill pickle and their spicy Rooster sauce on a Martin’s potato roll. Donuts are simple or fancy, relying on intriguing flavor combos – guava poppy and strawberry and lavender – than an overload of gimmicky toppings.