Major Food Group brings its world-famous spicy rigatoni vodka and other exciting surprises to the Magic City as it debuts several Miami eateries.
It’s golden hour on a perfect Miami ‘winter’ day and the city is alive along the famous, now pedestrian-only Ocean Drive. There’s rollerblading, biking, dancing, dining and drinking taking place along the historic street. And in the midst of it all, there’s a friendship that can be spotted from a mile away—laughing and teasing mixed in with a side of business, all taking place in front of our eyes at our Ocean Drive shoot. Here, before us, is a trio of best friends. It’s also a trio of culinary magnates about to make their grand foray into the Miami dining scene. Meet Major Food Group—one of the most prominent and respected hospitality groups in the country, comprised of founders Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick.
Famous for its iconic spicy rigatoni vodka from West Village hot spot Carbone, or its crunchy and indulgent Italian hero sandwiches from Parm, Major Food Group has expanded from its born-and-bred New York roots to debut in the Magic City in a major way.
With the mission of being present in every key Miami neighborhood serving as the impetus behind the quick and impactful entrance to the city, MFG is here to shake up our culinary scene—and we could not be more excited about it.
For us Miamians, it seems as if this was a long time coming. For MFG, its entrance has been a natural progression, but one that has also been accelerated due to the state of our world right now.
“Miami was always a city that we had dreams of expanding to, however, I think the global circumstance expedited our migration here in a big way,” shares Mario Carbone.
Co-owner Rich Torrisi adds, “The strategy happened to be well underway. We found a lot of synergies here and seized the opportunity to bring MFG to Miami. The move was always in the works, but the pandemic just sped up that initiative.”
First on the lineup to open is Mario’s namesake eatery, Carbone. With a global cult-following and a prime location in Miami Beach, Carbone is poised to be one of the hardest reservations to snag in the city, set to open to the public in January. Expect the brand’s iconic red velvet drapes, dim lighting, cozy seating and mouth-watering dishes that will take you back to your favorite New York nights.
“Carbone is located in an iconic location in the South of Fifth neighborhood with a design by Ken Fulk,” Jeff Zalaznick shares. “It offers 160 seats inside and 50 outside. The classics on the menu will always be the spicy rigatoni vodka, caesar alla zz and the veal parm.”
Aside from the stellar menu items, it’s also guaranteed to be a classic Carbone vibe, tailored to its new Miami home.
“We are bringing our very distinctive style of fun, fine dining to the market. What we try to accomplish is giving you a world-class meal and a night out at the same time,” says Carbone.
With great food, a killer atmosphere and a stellar crowd, they’ve managed to capture all of the key ingredients to perfect the recipe of a true Miami dining experience.
Shortly after the Carbone debut, MFG will introduce additional new concepts. In the Miami Design District, MFG will launch an Italian trattoria, as well as a Japanese sushi restaurant. And of course, ensuring prime real estate throughout the city also means a concept in Brickell, which will launch as a classic American steakhouse. It’s safe to say, our food palettes are about to get a major upgrade.
“Our concepts will represent classic MFG-style food and values while drawing inspiration from Miami and our love and passion for this great city,” shares Zalaznick, who has officially made Miami his permanent home for the foreseeable future. After spending a few months here, it was quickly a mutual love affair.
While the team remains tight-lipped on exactly what we’ll be craving, they have revealed that the restaurant menus will incorporate their own special Miami influence.
“Each concept is designed to give way for a unique dining experience,” says Torrisi. “We’re working on a few exclusive dishes made specifically for Miami and we’re so excited to share them all with you soon.”
Not only is this exciting news for our local foodie community, but it is also a welcome reprieve from the hardships that the hospitality industry has faced over the past year. With lockdowns and tight restrictions throughout the country, the Miami market is more important than it ever has been.
“It’s certainly an exciting opportunity not only for us, but also for our team,” notes Carbone. “We offered an open invitation to any member of MFG that was interested in joining the Miami market with us. We got a great response from our current team, and also extended our search to be able to create new jobs in the local community. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to provide this opportunity in a moment when there is very little of it.”
Aside from this, another big appeal of Miami rests in the simple element that draws so many people here each year, to begin with: the weather.
“It’s a year-round city,” notes Torrisi. “There is a lot of crossover between the Northeast and our guests in New York City and Miami. The alfresco nature of dining and the lifestyle that Miami entails is amazing for the hospitality industry—especially right now. It’s a more dynamic experience with outdoor seating available for the entire year. Due to the crossover between the clientele and the overall ambiance here, it makes way for an indulgent atmosphere.”
Indulgence is, after all, what Miami has always done best.
“We aren’t just visiting South Florida,” asserts Zalaznick. “We are here.” And for that, we are eternally grateful.
Photography by: RIOCAM | Grooming by Rodrigo Ivory Morales | Hair + makeup by Dafne Beauty Lounge