September Business Spotlight- Silverlake Bistro
Silverlake Bistro: A Hidden Gem Inspired by Hispanic Roots
Miami Beach is a food and hospitality hub and Sandy Sanchez is an important ingredient in our culinary palate. Born in Hialeah, to Cuban parents Maribella and Rafael Sanchez, Sandy’s palate has always been infused with and influenced by Spanish, African and Caribbean spices, techniques and flavors. Sandy’s journey began in the 1950s, when her uncle, Frades Sanchez, migrated to the United States to play for the New York Yankees. After a career ending injury, Frades moved to Miami, and Sandy’s parents fleeing Cuba in 1960, joined him and settled in Hialeah. Maribella and Rafael, like many Cuban immigrants, were able to obtain factory jobs. Sandy remembers living in Hialeah across the street from the factory where her father worked and the sweet smells of her mom cooking in the kitchen. Mrs. Sanchez, an early entrepreneur, started cooking lunches for the factory workers and Sandy fondly recalls her home becoming a special place for workers, neighbors and the needy to come and enjoy homemade authentic Cuban food.
“I was inspired by my mom. She had an entrepreneurial spirit and shared her love of cooking with our community,” states Sandy. “My mom’s kitchen became a welcoming destination to gather, share, love, laugh and enjoy the best food in the neighborhood.”
Though Sandy moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, it was meeting the love of her life, husband Chef Benoit "Ben" Rablat, that is her warmest memory of her brief stay in California. They met in the Silverlake neighborhood, and it is there that they learned the joys of food and wine and fell in love with hosted dinner parties for our friends. It was also where the seed to one day opening a restaurant was planted.
Sandy and Ben’s first restaurant, La Fresa Francesa, a highly popular French eatery in Hialeah, is an intimate French bistro with a bohemian vibe. Following seven successful years as restauranteurs, the gastronomic risk takers sought to expand to Miami Beach….and Silverlake, a loving celebration of their affection for each other and food, was born in North Beach.
“The opening of Silverlake was a gamechanger for us and North Beach. We introduced a hot new restaurant with a warm and refreshing neighborhood aesthetic and North Beach gained a walkable family-friendly bistro. The combination of Ben's delicious food and Sandy's style and personality made Silverlake destination dining!" states David Sexton, president of the Normandy Fountain Business Association.
Sandy has poured her heart and soul into every detail of Silverlake, from music, artistic wallpaper, fun trinkets, and warm greetings for every customer. “We want to keep the place as humble as possible. I want it to feel like you are eating in my mom’s home or eating in your grandma’s home," said Sandy, “There are no magical recipes, just the right combination of spices, love, warmth, culture and hard work.”
Favorites include Ben’s mom’s original French recipe for blue cheese, white wine, shallots and scallions mussels and the Silverlake burger, a double patty topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, steak sauce and aioli. Silverlake Bistro is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday and brunch on Sunday. For more information, you can find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/silverlakemiamibeach/. Happy National Hispanic Heritage Month!