All roads have led somewhere for Jeremy Goldberg, in this case it’s been Exit 1 and Route 9.
Jeremy Goldberg co-owns restaurants Route 9 in Coral Gables and Exit 1 in Key Biscayne with his wife Paula, whom he met in The Culinary Institute of America (CIA). This eclectic couple’s goal is to grow their restaurant company. They don’t like to feel restrained doing the same things as they are a hands on pair, always working on different projects. Their careers have always been in the restaurant and entertainment industry, where they share their love for the business and their passion for food.
These two have a lot on their plates, juggling 12 meals a week in Coral Gables and 6 meals a week in Key Biscayne. In time it’s turned into a lot more work, making it difficult for just two people to handle. They in turn teamed up with another duo: Assistant Pastry Chef from Soraya Kilgore of the Setai and the Executive Sous-Chef, Brad Kilgore, of Azul. Making it a perfect fit for all of them, the Foie to the Gras.
THP: How was your experience in CIA?
JG: It was an awesome experience. You are not in college, your friends are. The days are long, its hard work, no skipping or missing classes. You can’t go without your work being done; you have to go with your knives sharpened. It was a great learning experience and it’s an incredible way to go into the industry because if you do things the way you were taught, then you will excel.
THP: Did you feel prepared when you graduated?
JG: I worked before and during CIA. I went back to a restaurant that I worked in while I was in High School as a Manager. So yeah, I was. I was ready to work but had an incredible amount more to learn.
We have both worked hard to get where we are. We had a plan and it wasn’t a surprise that we have done well, but it is a goal that we have accomplished and we are excited for what’s to come.
THP: What was the biggest learning experience from opening a restaurant?
JG: We play a good balance between micromanaging and having somewhat of a life. We check and know everything that comes into the place, as well as everything that goes out. We are very hands on with our staff. We have also learned how to make the opening process smoother so we don’t have to do as much. We came into this one (Exit 1) with more help. The last one (Route 9) was my wife and I with our friends getting the place ready by scrubbing the floor and painting walls as well as using every cent that we had to get it going.
In this one (Exit 1) we didn’t have much work to do in the location and we had more help.
We took this (Exit 1) because it was a good opportunity and we knew we could do well here. There are 500 units in this condo, it’s been here since the 70’s, and we are actually the 3rd owners of the restaurant. One guy had it 25 years and passed away, and the other one had it 12 years or so, retired and now it is on to us. Now we service the resort, beach, pool and we do a lot room service even offering brunch.
THP: How does the menu work?
JG: We change the menu at least seasonally, probably every 2 months; we will give it a facelift.
We have also added a great happy hour and embrace all cultures: Europeans, Russians, Americans, South Americans, by offering a menu that reflects dishes that people from any culture will like.
THP: What is the Route 9 menu like?
JG: There is something for everyone on the menu. As for the favorites, some people come in and get a lot of small plates, get baked cheese and the prawns. For the main course, the pork is really popular and it’s the same cut that we use in both restaurants.
We try to work with local ingredients as much as possible, so we work with smaller distributors and suppliers, actual fishermen and farmers.
We want to keep our prices down and be a place that people can visit a lot; we don’t want people to feel guilty about going to our restaurants. But still they get the same service as if they were in an upscale restaurant.
(THP recommends the tomato soup and the sticky buns with bacon for brunch)
THP: How did you come up with the name Route 9 and Exit 1?
JG: Route 9 is the street the culinary institute where my wife and I met and Exit 1 is the Exit you must take when on I-95 for Key Biscayne, we wanted to keep the theme consistent.
THP: What do you personally like when you go out to eat?
JG: You know we like everything, there is always a place for everything. We like what the Blue Collar guys are doing; we think they are hitting the nail on the head. That is what we would do but we concentrate on good food and good service – the white tablecloths don’t matter as much as they used to. We also love Whisk and the River Seafood & Oyster Bar.
THP: Do you see yourselves doing anything within the industry other than opening up more restaurants?
JG: I see us doing more than opening restaurants. We want to stay in this industry. When we arrived in Miami, before we owned restaurants, we had a restaurant guide called Restaurant Elite. We’ve done other stuff, so we see ourselves doing different projects but staying within the industry.
THP: What will the next place be like?
JG: The next place won’t be a full service kind of place; it’ll be more casual.
When on the road and hungry consider making a pit stop at Exit 1 and try:
1. Foie gras and duck confit and angel cote – apricot dumplings
2. Braised short ribs, plantain, and manchego, and an au jus sauce
3. Big fat Mediterranean mussels
4. The pork
5. Desserts are incredible with Soraya, the new pastry chef! Save room for dessert!