Michael Merida, who was chef-owner of the former Maize in Commack (now Perfecto Mundo), has made it to the big time in Manhattan. He is now a partner with Donatella Arapaia at Mia Dona in Manhattan, where, as executive chef, he's putting out a rustic Italian menu.
Merida follows in the footsteps of his Mia Dona predecessor, Michael Psilakis, another Long Island success story. Back in 2001, Psilakis opened a restaurant called Ecco in Garden City Park (where Uncle Bacala’s is now); after starring at several Manhattan restaurants, he’s now the chef-owner of Fishtag and Kefi.
In a phone conversation, Merida sounded really happy to be where he is but said he misses friends and former customers in Commack, some of whom he still sees. Maize, he said "was a good experience for the first restaurant that I owned,” he said, adding it afforded him entry into the “big leagues.”
Mia Dona is at 206 E. 58 St., Manhattan, 212-750-8170.
Michael Merida at Maize