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Bring people together through their shared craving for a universally loved food.
That’s the inspiration behind SimplyGood Pizza, a new collaboration of Haitian-American entrepreneur Max Pierre and chef Richard Fuentes.
Inspired by Spike Lee’s 1989 movie Do The Right Thing, the duo’s new pizza pop-up at the Lincoln Road Eatery aims to foster a sense of community by sourcing fresh ingredients from local farmers and purveyors while raising advocacy issues and encouraging guests to donate to those in need.
Pierre is known in the nightlife community, most recently for his work at Blind Barber, a trendy bar inside a barber shop at the Nautilus South Beach hotel. Fuentes, a Puerto Rican native, worked as an executive sous chef at BLT Prime and recently helmed the kitchen at the Nautilus South Beach’s Cabana Club.
When COVID hit, Blind Barber closed and the two friends decided to open a place where they could use pizza as a medium to tell a bigger story.
“There are many layers to what we are aiming to do,” Pierre tells New Times. “As Black and brown business owners, we are aware of the issues affecting the Miami community. The world we are currently living in with the COVID pandemic and the reality of George Floyd made us realize that we had to do something to bring change about, and we want to inspire others to do the right thing.”
“We are both immigrants and we are proud of that,” says Fuentes. “We are working on identifying the best ingredients in town and putting together our rendition of what we think is good for those who don’t want a full restaurant experience. In essence, we are offering a refined pizza experience in an approachable way.”
The “Green” pie at SimplyGood Pizza.
Photo courtesy of SimplyGood Pizza
Their pizza pop-up joined the Lincoln Eatery’s roster of fast-casual, artisan, and grab ‘n’ go concepts last month with a menu of traditional and unique Neapolitan-style pies. Highlights include a mushroom-and-truffle pie with Gruyère ($15) and a guava-and-cheese that pays homage to Miami’s Latin roots with a combination of guava shells and whipped cream cheese, sprinkled with lemon zest and grated pistachio ($8).
Proceeds collected from the sales of SimplyGood Pizza’s “The Right Thing,” a cheese pie ($10), benefit local charities and institutions, including Village (Free)DGE and philanthropic initiatives sponsored by the Hungry Black Man.
Pierre and Fuentes have also incorporated a cultural element into the concept, erecting a “Wall of Fame” that will display rotating art exhibits. Currently on view is a collection of 46 portraits of iconic black figures.
“Food is the centerpiece at our eatery and we pride ourselves in making good pizza, but the experiential component is still there,” Pierre explains.” The point we want to get across is that you can be a businessperson and still tie your community to it in different ways.
“There’s separation between charity and entrepreneurship, he adds. “But we want to show how to bring those two worlds together. Hopefully one day that will be the norm.”
SimplyGood Pizza. 723 Lincoln Lane N., Miami Beach; simplygoodpizza.com. Open daily noon to 8 p.m.
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