CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Just like so many people, it seems as though entrepreneurs and chefs within the food space used their time off during the COVID-19 to dive into their true passions — or to even create brand new restaurants.
This is certainly the case for the locals-only, dim sum delivery service that grew to have a cult following on Instagram called Zitz Sum.
Now, it’s a 2,000-square-foot pop-up restaurant located right in the heart of Coral Gables. (But we’ll get to that in a second.)
Zitz Sum is the mastermind of Chef Pablo Zitzmann and his wife, pastry chef Natalia Restrepo, who decided to put their COVID-19 downtime to good use and began selling hand-rolled dumplings from home in March of 2020. For 10 hours each day, they stood side-by-side in their kitchen preparing, rolling, filling, and folding the dough for each and every dumpling, and made every filling and sauce from scratch.
As for the name, “Zitz Sum?” It’s a tribute to his nickname and love of dim sum.
Together, they produced between 200 to 300 dumplings daily. At first, it started small, but then came a flood of direct messages on Instagram, (many were even followers from Zitzmann’s former restaurant, ‘No Name Chinese,’ in South Miami).
Quickly, they realized it was time to search for a brick-and-mortar space. That’s when in early 2021, Zitzmann’s dumplings found a kitchen of their own.
Is this a love story?
Yes, it is.
Now, the temporary restaurant is set to operate in Coral Gables inside of a 15-story office building’s first floor lobby in true pop-up fashion with a one-year run. To start, the restaurant will open five days a week offering indoor and outdoor seating in their outdoor courtyard for happy hour and dinner.
The 66-seat Asian-inspired neighborhood eatery and sake bar will offer a hybrid experience between sim sum and izakaya, inspired by Japanese and Chinese street foods with a Miami twist.
“Every culture has its rituals and making dumplings with you and yours is a wonderful way to connect and comfort each other. Everything’s so personal for us here,” says Zitzmann. “Dumplings taste better when they’re filled with happy memories. There’s nothing better than sharing warm, tasty dumplings and a glass of wine with friends and family. That’s where real joy comes from.”
The menu, which will change often, will feature hand-rolled dumplings, small plates, and the long-awaited return of Natalia’s famous “Hong Kong-Style French Toast.”
Some other highlights include their “Wonton In Brodo” with pork dumplings, charred leek, chives and onion broth, “Chicken Pot Stickers” with salsa macha, herbs and spicy Szechwan, “Charred Cabbage” with habanero butter, aged parmesan, and dry miso, and “Yukhoe Ssam Bap,” Korean steak tartare with egg salad, rice, and nori. Plus, some other dishes include their “Fried Rice Okonomiyaki Style” and “Mishima Reserve Hanger Steak.”
In addition to the featured Chilean wines made by winemakers from Restrepo’s hometown in Chile, the duo plans on launching a sake and soju based cocktail menu, as well.
Zitz Sum is located at 396 Alhambra Circle, Suite 155, in Coral Gables. The restaurant will open Tuesday though Saturday from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. Happy hour will be served both indoor and outdoor featuring 50% off wine and beer from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Dinner reservations are strongly recommended and can be placed on Resy or on www.zitzsum.com. For more updates about Zitz Sum, follow @zitzsum on Instagram.