Major Food Group to open Contessa in Miami Design District

From left: Mario Carbone, Jeff Zalaznick and Rich Torrisi with 111 Northeast 41st Street (Google Maps, Major Food Group)

Major Food Group is opening Contessa in the Miami Design District, marking its 10th South Florida restaurant.

The New York restaurant group, whose partners have relocated or expanded to Miami over the past couple of years, inked a long-term lease on the northeast corner of Northeast 41st Street and Northeast First Avenue, said Major Food Group partner Jeff Zalaznick. (Zalaznick bought a waterfront Sunset Islands home last year in Miami Beach, while partner Mario Carbone recently closed on a Palm Island home, also in Miami Beach.)

Contessa, a northern Italian-style restaurant with its sole location in Boston, is opening Saturday in a two-story, roughly 10,000-square-foot space at 111 Northeast 41st Street, part of Paradise Plaza in the Miami Design District. It will have terraces on both floors, a grand staircase, and will seat about 200 people. Ken Fulk designed the interiors.

“The Design District doesn’t really have a great Italian restaurant, and to put one of our most iconic restaurants on that corner is very exciting for us,” Zalaznick said, adding that Design District developer Craig Robins “always wanted [Major Food Group] to take that corner.”

(Major Food Group)

Zalaznick declined to provide lease terms, but said the company signed the lease nearly two years ago, at the time for an undisclosed concept. It’s on the same block as Major Food Group’s private membership club ZZ’s. Paradise Plaza Associates, an affiliate of Robins’ Dacra, developed the block.

Zalaznick said Contessa is the 18th concept that Major Food Group has opened worldwide in the last year, with another seven or eight openings planned by the end of the year. Still, he called it “the most significant restaurant we’ve opened” in Miami.

ZZ’s is also expanding to include a garden, screening room and sports bar. The hospitality group plans to open a Sadelle’s inside of the Kith, also on 41st Street in the Design District.

Major Food Group, led also by partner Rich Torrisi, expanded quickly in South Florida during the pandemic. It opened Carbone and HaSalon in South Beach, Dirty French Steakhouse in Brickell, Sadelle’s at The Boca Raton Resort & Club, Sadelle’s in Coconut Grove and plans to open Sadelle’s Restaurant and Market Place at 1212 Lincoln Road in Miami Beach.

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