By Vanessa Packer
Photography Justin Namon / ra-haus
OVER FRESHLY MADE BASIL LEMONADE, Elad Zvi describes the new community of mindful Miamians that has grown in recent years. “It was so cheesy five years ago,” Zvi lamented. “Now people are going the opposite direction. Not fancy, its something artisanal and mom and pop.” To wit, the Broken Shaker, spearheaded by Zvi and his business partner Gabe Orta, originally opened as a pop-up in The Freehand, a new hostel concept from The Sydell Group. With no velvet rope, doorman or VIP list, it became an escape from the traditional big nightclubs Miami is known for. In the growing collection of hospitality businesses, often referred to as the ‘anti-Miami’, The Broken Shaker serves custom cocktails that highlight ingredients from their organic garden alongside house-made tapas in a relaxing setting complete with string lights, vintage furniture, and ping pong tables. Elad and Orta look to their respective childhoods growing up in Israel and Columbia for the menu inspiration and philosophical approach to creating the feeling of the space. “We both have a lot of energy,” said Zvi. “We love the outdoors and our mothers used to cook very well using fresh simple ingredients.” In an industry that doesn’t warrant healthy living, Zvi sat down with bonberi to discuss how he keeps a balance, and most surprisingly, how being sober in Miami is the one thing everyone should experience.
How did you come up with the concept from Broken Shaker?
My business partner Gabe and I met Roy a long time ago and he called us one day to discuss a space he wanted us to see. We came here to the Freehand before it was open, about a year ago. We walked around and immediately thought it was amazing. We saw the vibe was charming, so we suggested doing a pop-up. Roy asked, “What kind of pop up?” So we explained our vision and what we wanted to do, the design is very much Gabe, Roy and myself. We picked out everything in the patio and put it together. We designed the place, broke everything apart the three of us and were able to open for business literally three weeks later. After we opened it became a hot place, everyone was here. We were like, “What’s going on? We don’t have a doorman, we just put some lights and tables but people like it.” Three months later we closed and the Sydell group offered us to do something more legit and be partners. Roman and Williams would help design it, they helped us source couches and built the bar, but it’s a real mix and match because some of these chairs came from salvation army.
How do you explain the clientele?
It’s something between Key West, New Orleans and Paris. The big umbrella is Miami. It’s how I would love Miami to look like. You know, Miami can be cheesy sometimes, but there is a lot of cool pockets that are amazing. It’s similar to LA in that way.
Do you have a particular philosophy you apply to the projects you work on?
I have major ADD and everyday I want to do something else. For me, coming to a new project, at first I feel the vibe and the people, then I build my things. I have my standard and uniqueness I apply, but the project is always different depending on the people who we are involved.
What made you decide to go with natural organic ingredients in your menu?
We have our own herb garden. I love healthy food. When I go to a restaurant, I want to eat healthy and eat my vegetables. My Jewish mother was always telling me to eat vegetables, not a lot of oil, no deep frying and no Coca Cola in the house. It was always very healthy in my house growing up. When I came to the States, there was so much bad food. I loved it. And the portions are so big! I love healthy and I hate to use the word organic because it’s so over used. We use food from the right sources and if we cannot make it ourselves we try to source it from the right place. I don’t like to make a big deal about it.
Where do you source your ingredients from?
We have grapefruit trees, lemon trees, and an herb garden on the property. We get a lot of ingredients from the farmers markets and the fish market. The best product comes from one hour away at a place called Homestead. It’s one of the best places in the country for produce. It’s like a hippie community that produces incredible stuff, like a paradise farm.
What is one of your favorite dishes that your mom used to make?
So, I’m from Israel and my business partner Gabe is from Columbia. We have different backgrounds but they are very similar. My mom used to make me fresh chicken with vegetables. But even the potatoes in my country are amazing. Anything she would pick up from the market would always be fresh. We would make a cucumber salad with olive oil, lemon salt and pepper. Very simple. Everything she made was simple and really delicious.
What does living a healthy life mean to you?
It’s a balance. Sometimes I go out at night, but the next morning I get up and run. I just got back form a trip to the west coast, I visited Portland, San Fransisco, and LA. I was drinking every day because I was going to see every bar and I’m not a drinker. I came home, woke up the next day and went running, I try to be healthy after something like that. I just have to keep active, and keep it green. If I go out, I don’t want to be at home in bed the next day. If I go out, I wake up early, play basketball or go to the gym. I don’t like the crackhead lifestyle. I go running on the boardwalk on the beach and I play basketball. Sometimes I work out at Soho House during the day because no one is there.
What is a typical day like for you, food wise?
Smoothies for breakfast. I make one with dates, bananas, almond milk and coconut. Lunch I eat salads with protein, and then dinner I eat whatever I want. I love eating a fresh whole fish. To me, eating a whole fish is like breaking bread with my friend. I like it with olive oil, salt and lemon. It’s why I live in Miami, I love the ocean smell.
Do you get massages or go to the spa?
No, I’m Jewish, I feel guilty. I don’t like to take care of myself in that way. I would never go to a spa and get a massage.
How do you relax?
I play with my baby and my dogs. Also, creeping people on Instagram and reading a nice book.
Do you cook a lot?
I love to cook. I cook a lot of Italian food, pastas and fish. My real passion is Japanese food, but I don’t cook it at home.
When did you move to Miami?
Seven years ago when I first moved, I was miserable. I was living in Alphabet City in New York for 10 years, it was chill. I didn’t know what I was doing here after I moved down. I was working for the Opium group and questioning why I worked in nightlife like, “What am i doing here?” The people were awful and I hated it. Then I started to meet the right people and it started to click, it was cool.
What do you love about Miami?
It’s about what is happening here now. This movement that used to be in New York back in the day. Now, New York is so precise and individual. At the same time, you go to the bars in Brooklyn and they are very much the same. I love New York, it’s my soul, my blood. But here there’s a raw canvas. Wynwood people just do whatever they want. The artists, there is a cool food movement and the healthy movement. Doing something different and unique they are all in Miami now and they are thirsty for new cool stuff.
How would you describe this movement that is happening in Miami right now?
My philosophy is that until four years ago, the hottest place was Prime One Twelve. It was all about pork belly and huge portions, now everything is about healthy food. Miami is the same way. It was so cheesy five years ago, now people are going the opposite, not fancy, its something artisanal and mom and pop. That is what is going on right now. That is what tied into The Freehand, the roots.
What is something special about Miami that you think a lot of visitors might miss?
To be sober in Miami is cool. Go to the ocean, go to the fish market, walk in Wynwood, drink amazing coffee, get amazing Latin food, go to Little Haiti and Little Havana because those areas are special. Going to after-hours, scoping famous people, sleeping all day, you miss what is great about this place. Even Soho House, go during the day it’s amazing.
Art basel is coming up, what do you like about it?
I love Art Basel. It’s all my people, all my New York friends. They all come here along with a lot of Europeans, but the crowd is great. The locals don’t like it because it used to be a lot cooler four or five yeas ago. Now it’s a lot of club kids from New York coming here and doing a pop up. It’s still cool, and I still like it.
Do you look forward to any shows?
I love the usual stuff but I also love discovering new artists. Every time I discover someone new which is cool. I like going to some of the parties too, like two years ago they did Chez Andre with karaoke. That had a great vibe, I like those things.
Is the Broken Shaker doing anything for Art Basel?
We are doing a lot of events. We are doing the Artsy event, one with the Brooklyn Museum, and one with Ben Watts on Saturday.