Persian and French food may not be a culinary combination you’d expect to find at a Miami restaurant. But Fooq’s has raised the stakes for the rest of the Miami food scene and will show you just how delicious the pairing can be.
In 2015, an ode to both Iranian and French culture was born in a new restaurant: Fooq’s. Located a block from Miami’s infamous Club Space and E11EVEN, Fooq’s specializes in “Feel Good Food,” which includes great ingredients and a forward thinking wine program. The visionary behind Fooq’s is Miami-based David Foulquier, a two-time Michelin star and a Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient from New York City, who has left his mark on Miami.
“People who are the most successful are really the people who just want it the most. There’s no secret—it’s hard work, constant commitment to whatever is your greater good, and just make sure you stand by a certain set of values.”David Foulquier | OWNER OF FOOQ’S
Although he considers his upbringing to be “pretty French,” Persian culture definitely runs through his veins. There was a balance between French culture, where food and wine is important, and Persian culture, which puts an emphasis on hospitality and entertainment. “We were always the host family that would be cooking food and having people over,” he said. “All my grandmas and aunts would be hanging out, playing cards, drinking chai every night. It was a thing in my house.” This upbringing made Foulquier passionate about hosting and serving people along with special dishes and, as he likes to put it, “sharing my joie de vivre (joy of life) with other people.”
Not only did Foulquier begin cooking for himself at a young age, but he also realized he wanted to cook for other people. “It’s very important in life that from as early as you can, you identify what it is you do well, what it is you enjoy doing and find the right balance of the two,” Foulquier said. He attended Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality, which put him on track for working and learning the ropes of hospitality at fine-dining restaurants. In addition to his education and experience, Foulquier said he takes a lot of his inspiration from traveling. His parents instilled the importance of travel at a young age, and today he is always saving money to go on trips, dine at great restaurants and meet new people. Foulquier advises those who want to go into the food or hospitality industry to travel, try new things and keep an open mind. Opening up your own restaurant is “not rocket science,” he said, “people have done crazier things.”
The goal behind Fooq’s is to give customers the experience that Foulquier grew up idolizing. He describes it as an “amalgamation of a lot of different things and places and people and dishes that I had along the way” and a “culmination of a long, strange trip.” As a self-described “burger slut,” Foulquier made sure to curate the perfect burger at his restaurant, among other favorites like the Bucatini Amatriciana and Kebab. He said that in general, many Persian restaurants do not represent the cuisine and culture well, so he has tried to do his best to emulate traditional dishes like Fooq’s Ghormeh Sabzi. But, he said, nothing compares to having Persian food at your Persian grandma’s home. He expressed that “[Fooq’s] for me was very from-the-heart” and is extremely thankful for all the support.
Due to COVID-19, Fooq’s closed its doors in March 2020, but opened its arms to partnerships with other small independent businesses. Foulquier said he hopes that with all the bad COVID-19 has brought, he can do something good. “I’m lucky that I believe in the product, I believe in Miami and I believe in myself, so I think that this whole period will bring something great out of it,” he said. Fooq’s doors are back open for their new pasta and wine bar pop-up, Da Lida. It features traditional Italian dishes, an extensive wine collection and a laid-back environment. It’s open Tuesday to Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m., with a rotating weekly menu using the freshest ingredients.
Foulquier said he is looking forward to seeing Fooq’s expand. He was able to learn how to run a restaurant and build a team on a manageable scale, and now he’s ready to do more. His plans for the future include a Fooq’s 2.0 sometime in the next few years spread across Miami, New York City and Los Angeles. Foulquier wants people to remember Fooq’s as “a place where they felt extremely comfortable, safe and enjoyed a meal that was fairly priced, but that there was a lot of value.” There’s a reason Foulquier calls it “Feel Good Food”—“It’s just food that makes you feel an experience and makes you feel good all around,” Foulquier said.
words_lauren mokhtarzadeh. photo_fooq’s miami. design_cathelyna suherman.
This article was published in Distraction’s winter 2020 print issue.