While pizza is certainly the focus, it’s not the only thing on the
menu at Genuine Pizza.
54 WINTER 2018 | WWW.SHAKER.LIFE
At Michael’s Genuine, Schwartz was finally able to call all the shots. That included
showcasing the approach to fine dining he’d been cultivating over the years: using
fresh, seasonal, and locally- and/or sustainably sourced ingredients in his dishes.
This approach – often called farm-to-table, in which chefs work directly with
farmers and other local purveyors – has become de rigueur among fine-dining
establishments in recent years. But in 2007, it was new to South Florida (and most
other places too). Indeed, Schwartz is widely credited with pioneering the farm-totable
movement in that region.
“I made a career on establishing relationships with farmers and local purveyors
and procurers,” he says.
That includes at Harry’s Pizzeria, which Schwartz opened in 2011. “I love pizza,”
says Schwartz. “There was a restaurant in the neighborhood that was a pizzeria and
it closed. I kept driving by and saying, ‘Hmm, we should do something there.’ It was
really like a little snapshot of what we did at Michael’s Genuine – much smaller,
much more focused, but the same idea; interesting ingredients, simplicity, sourcing,
all those things that were important at Genuine became important at the pizzeria.”
Artisanal Pizza and More
The menu at Genuine Pizza favors fresh, creative ingredients, atop a cold-fermented
dough crust that took Schwartz five years to perfect. There’s an award-winning Short
Rib pizza, with gruyere, caramelized onion, and arugula. There’s also a Slow Roasted
Pork pizza with fig, roasted onion, and fontina.
Schwartz uses only beef and pork provided by Niman Ranch, a network of 720
independent farmers committed to sustainable practices.
There’s plenty for the more vegetarian-minded too, including a popular kale
pizza, along with classics like Margherita, pesto, cheese, or mushroom.
A seasonal pie, which changes quarterly, tends to “reflect something that is
local and seasonal,” says Schwartz. Recently, that was Brussels sprouts, caramelized
onions, fontina, rosemary crema, and parmigiana cheese.
“You can go with people who do not want to eat pizza and they’ll be happy,” says
Schwartz. That includes dishes like roasted eggplant and oven-roasted chicken,
a variety of salads, and starters like meatballs in sauce, homemade focaccia, and
Finally, there’s the wine and beer list, which Schwartz characterizes as small
but mighty. “The list might only be 15 or 17 selections, but we think they’re well
thought through.” At the Van Aken District, that list will likely include some local
Ohio brews, too.
Schwartz’s approach to his craft should make him feel right at home in
Cleveland, where chefs like Sawyer, Doug Katz at fire food and drink, and others
– including Karen Small at Flying Fig and Vishu Nath at Urban Farmer – have also
focused on making seasonal, locally sourced ingredients a fixture of their menus.
“I was really impressed with the scene that’s going in Cleveland, including the
thoughtful sourcing,” says Schwartz.
He’s also friends with Jonathon Sawyer, who is curating the dining in the
District. “He’s a friend and he’s a chef, and I think there are some sensibilities
that are aligned with what we do,” says Schwartz. “We’re excited. We think it’s an
opportunity to fill a niche there in our own little way.” SL