The Sylvester Brings a Non-Alcoholic Buzz to Miami

Watch this episode on

In today’s overcrowded food and beverage market, bar owners often struggle to make their bar unique. And in South Florida, competition is fierce. New bars and restaurants open and close every day, and the only way to stay afloat is to offer high quality products that are truly different.

The Sylvester, located in the heart of Miami, aims to do exactly that. This season of REACH explores the unique stories behind the making of emerging and successful food and beverage businesses in South Florida. The Sylvester was just established this year, and is already making a name for itself in the city.

Ben Potts, the bar director for The Sylvester, co-founded the joint with Chef Brian Nasajon after quitting a “miserable” job in investment banking.

“I quit my job without having a plan,” says Potts. His goal was to craft drinks that were truly innovative. “Non-alcoholic beverages are what we’re trying to push and highlight.”

In addition to typical alcoholic drinks, The Sylvester offers kombucha, an extensive coffee list, tea, and wellness water and cocktails infused with CBD. There are even a few mushroom elixirs on the menu.

“We’re trying to push the envelope from a cocktail perspective,” adds Potts. The goal, for him, is to allow customers to “reap the benefits of a medicinal product in a food and beverage setting.”

The bar is designed to look nostalgic and “very distinctly” Miami. With vintage wallpaper, retro stylings, and a wide selection of board games, the place immediately feels welcoming and familial.

Check out the full episode to learn more about the bar and some of the recipes behind the unique drinks available at The Sylvester!

Whether You’re a Foodie or an Aspiring Chef, These Are the Miami Food Halls You Don’t Want to Miss

In the past few of years, there has been a powerful surge of food hall concepts popping up across the country and in late 2017 the wave finally arrived in Miami, Florida. Since then, many food hall concepts have been opening in the area especially in the first half of this year.

On this episode of On Foodable Side Dish, we meet three food hall operations featuring three very different concepts. First, we get the chance to meet Alex Cuevas, founder of Vshops—the world’s first 100 percent vegan food hall. Then, we sit down with Ruben Paredes, the Director of Operations of Miami’s first food hall—1-800-Lucky—serving up Asian cuisine. Finally, we get to hear from Kenzie Motai, Assistant General Manager of St. Roche Market, Miami —a contemporary food hall serving as a platform for up and coming chefs.

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 5.06.52 PM.png

Vshops

Alex Cuevas, Founder and CEO of Vshops is a former senior technology executive who gave up his prominent tech career in New York to pursue his true passion for sustainable food, health, and animal welfare. At 10 years old, Cuevas had decided to go vegan after he found out how animals were being treated in factory farms.

“...the way the animals were treated and then the way they were “dispatched” or put down, it was incredibly disturbing to me,” said Cuevas. “... and when I realized that my favorite foods were tied to the suffering I said I don’t want anything to do with it at all.”

Cuevas decided to open up his first Miami vegan concept, Choices Cafe, in 2011 after a frustrating trip to South Florida, where he had a hard time finding a place to eat that would cater to the vegan lifestyle he was accustomed to. Now with the Vshops food hall, Cuevas not only aims to cater to vegans, but his hope is to really impress non-vegans in order to inspire consciousness.

Check out the episode above to learn about all the different vegan concepts that reside within the Vshops food hall located in the Miami neighborhood of Coconut Grove!

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 5.07.40 PM.png

1-800-Lucky

Ruben Paredes takes time out of his day to break down for us all of the concepts within Miami’s first food hall—1-800-Lucky. Paredes, who was recruited by Sven Vogtland (one of the people behind Wynwood’s Coyo Taco), has been working in the hospitality/restaurant industry for two decades, but this is the first time he has dedicated himself to working for a concept like this one.

“I personally think that after all my years in this industry… for me, this format is the best,” said Paredes. In his words, 1-800-Lucky is a concept that provides a combination of “great food, great offerings... it’s simple, casual, it’s fast.”

Whatever Asian culinary craving a person may have, 1-800-Lucky is bound to have it for its guests. The Asian food hall provides Chinese barbecue (Lotus + Cleaver), dim sum (YIP), Vietnamese sandwiches (Les Banh Amis), traditional ramen (Hayato Miami), poke (PokeOG), ice cream (Taiyaki), and handmade sushi rolls (Myumi). It’s important to note that each food stand derives from a larger restaurant brand from across the globe.

Check out the episode above to see the food and drinks being featured at 1-800-Lucky!

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 5.08.31 PM.png

St. Roch Market

Kenzie Motai, who joined the St. Roch family in December of 2017, sat down with us to explain the concept of this food hall hailing all the way from New Orleans. St. Roch Market first opened in Miami in late February of this year and it boasts 11 unique food vendors while providing 1 central bar for its guests.

“Each vendor is a small business owner and entrepreneur,” says Motai. “We’re kind of the place you come to, to see the next up-and-coming chef in Miami before they blow up and open their own restaurant.”

As Motai explains, St. Roch Market is a historic market from New Orleans that has been around since 1875. It was rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina to be made into a food hall and now serves as a great platform for chefs to start their business.

Check out the episode above to hear about the experience from a chef working at St. Roch Market food hall!


If you’d like to learn more about other concepts by Sven Vogtland, like Wynwood’s Coyo Taco, check out the video below!

MOD Pizza set to Spread its "MODness" in Florida

MOD Pizza set to Spread its "MODness" in Florida

At least, that’s the plan by the brand’s exclusive Florida franchisee— BBX Capital.

Next week, the Seattle-based brand will be opening its first store in Miami-Dade County and fourth Florida store, overall. BBX Capital has already opened stores in Parkland, Coral Springs, and Jacksonville.

This new location will be in Kendall’s The Palms at Town & Country, a Mediterranean-themed, open-air shopping center.

Read More

Miamians Line Up for Artisanal Desserts at The Salty Donut in Wynwood

Miamians Line Up for Artisanal Desserts at The Salty Donut in Wynwood
  • Miami's The Salty Donut shop pours Chicago's Intelligentsia Coffee while serving up maple bacon desserts.

  • Hand-crafted, artisanal donuts fit in with the art scene found near Wynwood Walls.

The Salty Donut began as a mission to bring handcrafted, artisanal doughnuts to Miami. Owners Andy Rodriguez and Amanda Pizarro traveled across the country for these desserts and wondered why Miami didn’t have them.

“We realized that Miami is usually at the tail end of a lot of gastronomic trends and we just really wanted to do something that was for our city. Bring a little bit of culture that we didn’t have from other places around the country to our city...because I feel like Wynwood is part of the town, part of Miami that’s most accepting to kind of different things,” Rodriguez said.

Prior to having their storefront, “Salty,” as it is affectionately known, was trying to keep up with their customers' insatiable demands from a pop-up truck. Even now that they have been able to move into their storefront, The Salty Donut regularly has lines stretching down the street and often sells out of doughnuts before the business day is done — not surprising, due to its widely varied consumer base.

“I think we’ve got kids [who] are super trendy and kinda fashion-forward. I think we’ve got, you know, grandmas and grandpas that are 80 years old that come in and get our doughnuts,” Rodriguez added.

With quirky items like the pancetta, cheddar, and cornbread cake doughnuts and classics like the traditional glazed buttermilk, Salty offers a treat for every flavor profile. The menu is thanks in part to veteran pastry chef and The Salty Donut Executive Pastry Chef Max Santiago. With his 20 years of experience, Chef Santiago can change his menu regularly.

“Whenever anyone asks me, ‘You do just doughnuts?’ I don’t do just doughnuts, I do desserts,” he said.

And those desserts are just as pleasing to the eye as they are to the stomach. As customers walk in to satisfy their doughnut craving, many can’t help but stop to snap a shot for Instagram or Facebook.

Watch this episode of REACH Miami to see what all the fuss is about at The Salty Donut.

Read More