His restaurants have been highly cited by everyone from Esquire to the New York Times, and he himself was awarded a James Beard for Best in the South. He's got two eateries in the Design District, one on Grand Cayman, another onboard Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, a fifth slated for South Beach next Fall, as well as a delicious Clarkson Potter cookbook. We speak of Michael Schwartz, whose Harry's is again teaming with O Cinema for Dinner and a Movie. Niteside got the chef to answer a few Q's.
For the very few who don't yet know, what's Harry's? Harry's is our second restaurant in the Design District. We opened September of last year. It's got a really cool vibe, comfortable but with a lot of character. Harry's is a place you can bring your family for pizza, salads, snacks... and hang around for a while, watch a game on TV and share some good food and company. We have housemade sodas and four taps that rotate craft and local beers. The pizzas are hand-formed and fired in a wood-burning oven like we have at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink. Lots of seasonal ingredients, too. My chef de cuisine Manny there just got a smoker, so he's happy. He's an MGFD alum.
Is there an actual Harry there too? My son, named after my grandfather. He made pizza on opening night, but I think he's going to stick to drumming!
How'd the joint get hooked up with Marley? We let O Cinema do the curating. It's a great partnership, and we've had a really interesting variety of films since we started doing the Dinner & a Movie series, from horror, to burlesque and even a documentary on the world's most famous sushi chef. It'll be a year in May. Marley is going to be great and I'm bummed I'm going to miss this one. Travel is a bitch!
Were you a fan of the man beforehand? Absolutely. He was a big influence in my younger, dreadlocked days... Yes, feel free to read between the lines!
What all will you be doing for this particular dinner and a movie? Manny definitely took the Jamaican theme to heart and had fun with it. It's great to break out of the routine at the restaurant and do something a little different. Harry's menu is a little more fixed than at MGFD, so something like this is a big departure. Pastry chef Hedy had fun too with the dessert and the theme!
Anything else you'd like to share before we let you go-go? Part of the fun of having a new home is the housewarming of course, so we're doing a pop-up series where each month I invite a friend of mine from out of town to come cook at Harry's and take over the menu for a night. The meal is served family-style with communal seating. We've had a lot of fun too. My staff gets an opportunity to work with nationally-acclaimed chefs that they otherwise wouldn't have access to. Tickets are exclusively sold online through harryspizzeria.com/fun, where links to photos of past dinners and the upcoming event schedule are available.
O Cinema's Dinner & a Movie takes place Monday April 23rd... Marley plays through Sunday April 29th