Business and Brotherhood: Wade-Haslem Open New Restaurant In Aventura

Commentary4 years ago5 min readAlf, Heat Twitter President

I don’t cover events.  I don’t write recaps. I dropped out of the University of Florida’s journalism program back in 2000 because the idea of being forced to write about these things sickened me.

I’m not joking.  The idea of writing behind a deadline or forcing 2,000 words on a topic I couldn’t give a s*** about made me physically ill.

I stopped writing for 15 years. 15 years of silent protest against a phantom power that didn’t even know I was protesting.

So now here comes Miami Heat Beat’s partnership with 5 Reasons Sports. Credentials! Access! Red carpet interviews!

So? I don’t care about these things. I’m happy for Miami Heat Beat. A bunch of young journalism enthusiasts are finally getting an opportunity to have a voice without the joy-killing process of traditional sports media.

But me? Nope. I don’t give a s***. I want to do my podcasts and write about stories that interest me from afar.

“Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem are opening a restaurant together in Aventura?”

My ears perk up.

“Oh, word?”

Now this…this I can understand. This is something that speaks to me. The loyalty and bond of a friendship. Built through battles and disagreements. Friendship that has lasted the test of distance and separation. Friendship that matures and grow into more than casual teammates, but a business partnership that stands the strain of the average commercial undertaking.

So after 16 years of on-court battles, and the shedding of legitimate blood sweat and tears. After numerous sacrifices both financial and personal, the captains have united to open their first joint venture: 800 Degrees Woodfire Kitchen in Aventura.

As they’ve done as teammates, they’ve pushed the boundaries of a traditional pizza chain into a more robust restaurant concept. They’ve opened an eatery that speaks to the foundations of their friendship – a concept built on family.

Wade and Haslem are like Joe and I.

You don’t know Joe. Joe isn’t a part of #HeatTwitter. Joe is actually a filthy New York Knicks fan.

But Joe and I have been through wars together. Fought together. Won together. And we’ve lost together.

Joe is probably more Wade. I’m probably more UD. Joe is the one who’ll steal your girl, steal the spotlight, then dare you to do something about it, and I’m the one who will knock you to the f***ing floor for even thinking about retaliating.

So I understand the bond that has grown between Wade, the superstar, and Udonis, the enforcer. It is a mutual respect that grows over the years and becomes something unbreakable. Business partnerships come and go, teammates get traded, but true friendships last forever.

So on Thursday night, I watched Wade show up in his orange Lambor-something. Twenty minutes later, Haslem shows up in his Range Rover whatchamacallit.

I don’t recognize the vehicles, but I recognize the handshakes. The dap. The look of mutual admiration.

I’m in the scrum. The questions fly about contracts, playing time and choice of chefs.

“Dwyane, do you still want to play?” asks Giancarlo Navas of Miami Heat Beat.

“I will always play. Until I can’t play anymore,” Wade responds.

Udonis, do you want Wade to come back to the Miami Heat next season?

“That’s my brother,” Haslem said. “Selfishly, I would love for him to come back and play with me another year, but that’s my brother, and I understand what’s most important to us in our lives right now. That’s our families.

“I’m not gonna put pressure on him to come back. Nah, I’ll never do that. At the end of the day, our relationship actually grew and strengthened when he went to Chicago. That’s not to say go somewhere else, but it actually grew and bonded [us] more. This relationship will last forever, no matter where he is.”

Dwyane, is it still Miami or retirement? Or is there a Plan B?

“Nah, there’s not a Plan B to it. I’ve been very open and honest to my loved ones. I’ve always said when I got traded back to Miami, that was it for me,” Wade said. “I don’t want to pack my bags and go nowhere. If I’m not wearing a Miami Heat jersey next year, I’ll be wearing it under one of my sweaters or jackets.”

No matter what jersey is worn on the outside, on the court, or under a jacket, the bond of true friendship endures. Wade and Haslem have grown beyond teammates, beyond co-captains and beyond a business partnership. They are now family.

The red carpet event is over now, and the two men linger around for a little bit taking selfies with fans before they head inside for one of two soft openings.

They stop for a moment to do a quick Instagram story in front of the 800 Degrees backdrop, as Wade proceeds to sum up the night succinctly.

“It’s not just pick-and-rolls with us,” Wade said. “We’re just getting started.”

800° Woodfired Kitchen is a West Coast-based restaurant that’s opening its first location in South Florida on Sept. 20 at 2956 Aventura Boulevard, Suite C-3. It’s the first business venture Wade and Haslem have partnered together on as part of their new company Forty-Three.

The 4,000-square-foot Aventura restaurant will offer seating for 125, a full bar, and will be open for lunch and dinner when it debuts. A second location is expected to open at the MiamiCentral station later in 2019. 

Founded by world-renowned chef Anthony Carron, 800° Woodfired Kitchen has locations across the world from Los Angeles to Tokyo, featuring a menu tied around wood-fired items, including pizza, rotisserie meats, salads and sides.