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Alex Zibi on the First Year at Buns & Buns

Owner talks TV, future restaurants and its day-long anniversary party

Alex Zibi
Alex Zibi
Cortney Cates

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of South Miami's Buns & Buns. The restaurant, which describes itself as a hybrid between counter service and fine dining dubbed "gastro-fast," has made quite its mark in the 365 days it has been open most notably landing a spot on the currently airing Best New Restaurant on Bravo TV.

While owner Alex Zibi wouldn't spill if the restaurant actually wins the show, he did give Eater Miami some insight into the restaurant's ever-evolving menu, if more Buns & Buns are in the works and the all-day party it is hosting to celebrate the first year in biz. Spoiler alert: the party involves bottomless prosecco for just $2 available all day long. Sounds like a Thursday Funday to us.

Overall how was the first year at Buns & Buns?

It was actually a very good year and a good start. Many things happened during this year. We got a lot of press reviews, a lot of Yelp reviews — over 230 Yelp reviews in one year, that’s crazy — and obviously, being on Bravo TV. Overall the first year was a very good introduction into the market.

What have your biggest challenges been?

The biggest challenges of this year were very simple, first of all it was to understand what the market wanted in terms of food. We started with over 30 items and little by little we started to understand what people liked, what they don’t like, and we started trimming down the menu until we nailed it to the items that people really, really, really like. Also the ordering at the counter. At the beginning people used to be a little bit annoyed about it, but after all when they understand it speeds up the process they start liking it.

So you mentioned had a pretty successful first year. What would you say was the biggest accomplishment?

I’d say successful proving what a ‘gastro-fast’ concept was: fine dining served in under 20 minutes for under 20 dollars, and we did that. Also the Bravo show, that was a major accomplishment for this year.

Elaborating on that, Buns & Buns is one of the five Miami restaurants competing on Bravo’s Best New Restaurant. What was that experience like?

Every experience is great in order to build your experience, but with that one was funny. We actually had the chance to test our product in the New York market since we had to travel there and it looks like the feedback from was very good. [He pauses] I can’t say much but to be on TV as one of the best new 16 restaurants in America is an amazing achievement especially since we were less than one year old when this happened.

What do you have in store for the next year?

We are looking to extend the brand. We are currently looking at other locations for Buns & Buns, we really want to focus on the brand and the gastro-fast aspect. We are looking to grow the brand right now, we are ready for number two, maybe number three, it’s just a matter of finding the perfect location for it in Miami.

You guys have some celebrations in store tomorrow for your first anniversary. What do you have planned?

Since we are an over-the-counter concepts, we figured a traditional party wasn’t a Buns & Buns concept. In order to please everybody and stick to concept, we are doing an all-day party. People can come and have our top items and enjoy bottomless prosecco style for $2. So when you go to the counter and order the prosecco, we will give you a sticker with two sides that are green and red. If it’s green on your table it will mean ‘pour more’ and when it is turned red it means ‘that’s it I can’t drink anymore.’

Does it feel like it’s been a year?

Not at all actually. It’s very, very, very scary. Time at that pace goes so fast that it’s scary. We didn’t even feel the year going through. Doesn’t feel like it has been a year.

Buns & Buns

5748 Sunset Drive, Miami, FL 33143 (786) 216-7754 Visit Website

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