Proof Pizza & Pasta: A Midtown Miami Treasure

The guys behind Proof Pizza & Pasta: (L to R) Justin Flit, Matt Depa, and Malcolm Prude

By now, odds are that you’ve heard of Proof Pizza & Pasta. The Midtown Miami restaurant has quietly made its name for itself since opening its doors almost one year ago. The Neopolitan pizzeria was most recently named Best Restaurant in Midtown/Design District by Miami New Times, adding to its long list of local accolades.

After experiencing the food and service for ourselves, we saw what the fuss was about. We just had to talk to Chefs Justin Flit and Matt Depa about the restaurant and find out their story. So we did.

Justin and Matt first crossed paths in NYC, when the duo attended school together at the French Culinary Institute. Once they started talking and found out they hailed from the Sunshine State, the friendship quickly blossomed.

“We were the only two people from South Florida there,” Justin said. “We just bonded over that one fact.”

The friends would go on to work at the kitchens of New York’s DBGB and Gramercy Tavern, eventually returning to Miami and furthering their skills at acclaimed local restaurants; Justin ended up at Bourbon Steak while Matt worked at The Dutch. It was at Bourbon Steak where Justin would meet another crucial member of the future Proof team: Malcolm Prude, the restaurant’s sous/pastry chef (aka the guy responsible for the famous macarons).


Wanting to set out on their own, the guys developed an idea for a casual neighborhood restaurant — a stark contrast to their finer dining experience.

“We wanted to create something affordable with nice people and good food,” Justin said. “We wanted  a great product that would make diners come back a few times a week.”

Justin fell in love with the Midtown/Design District area and felt the concept would fit right into the up and coming neighborhood. After searching for a long time for the ideal space, he found the old Copperbox location available and snatched it up. There was still a lot of work ahead for the team, though: The kitchen would take about nine months to build out.

All the while, there was the issue of the name. Proof Pizza & Pasta wasn’t always going to be the original name for the place. The guys had toyed with multiple names, with one of the frontrunners being Crust; that idea dropped once it was discovered another local restaurant already had the name. Thus, it was decided to go with Proof.

“It stands for the pizza dough … how the dough is fermented and we proof it and age the dough overnight,” says Flit.

As for the 00 in the logo, that’s a reference to the highest-quality Caputo 00 dough that the team uses for their pizzas. And that emphasis on quality is evident throughout the restaurant —  not just in the food. There’s a big focus on quality staff, so they’re very picky about who they hire.

“If the front of the house experience is bad, then it ruins the quality of the experience,” Justin said. “That overrides the back of the house experience no matter how good it might be. It all comes down to our guests; we want them to be completely happy.”

Our stomachs have certainly left happy each time we’ve visited, and each time we’ve discovered new items on the menu. While delicious staples like angel hair crab pasta, the brussels sprouts and oxtail pizza have been on the menu since the beginning, other items are swapped out regularly.

“We change maybe 1-2 items each week,” Justin says. “We get bored easily, so we’re always experimenting.”

And diners don’t have to wait long for these creations; ticket times are fast. The pizzas take roughly 90 seconds to bake, and the pastas take just a handful of minutes to cook — it’s perfect for when you’re tight on time.

proof---front-monster proof---side-monster

Don’t leave so quickly that you miss out on the artwork, though. Around the interior of the eatery, you’ll find fascinating silicone art from local artist Enrique Machado. There’s also the colorful monster murals on the outside of the restaurant. Contrary to popular belief, the monsters are not restaurant mascots.

“They were done by Patch Whisky, a street artist from South Carolina, ” says Justin. “He asked us if he could tag our walls — we had no idea what he was going to do. We said ‘sure’ and that was that.”

From the food to the service to the art, Proof Pizza & Pasta exudes quality. Justin and the team set out to create an affordable neighborhood spot with a casual vibe, and they’ve knocked it out of the park. Not one dish is over $20, but we’d gladly pay more than that for this top-notch cuisine (don’t get any ideas, guys).

If you haven’t already eaten here, you’re making a huge mistake. If you’ve eaten here, go back and try out the new menu items. Make sure to say hi — we’ll probably be there.

Proof Pizza & Pizza is located at 3328 North Miami Avenue. For hours of operation and more information, visit their official website or call 786-536-9562.