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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

Ford and Postmates Deliver with "Self-Driving" Delivery Vehicles in Miami

Ford and Postmates Deliver with "Self-Driving" Delivery Vehicles in Miami

Ford and Postmates have partnered up to create an on-demand delivery platform powered by a self-driving delivery service that is currently being tested in Miami.

In a self-penned article on Medium, Ford Autonomous Vehicle Business Team member, Alexandra Ford English says the on-demand delivery platform is currently being tested in Miami and Miami Beach with more than 70 businesses participating, including local favorite, Coyo Taco. For residents in the area, when you order through Postmates, you could be given the option to have your food delivered by a self-driving research vehicle.

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How Is the Zika Virus Affecting Restaurants in Wynwood?

How Is the Zika Virus Affecting Restaurants in Wynwood?

By Mae Velasco, Custom Content Editor

Zika. Is this mosquito-borne virus a mere buzzword rampaging the news, or it is actually sucking the life out of businesses in South Florida? Wynwood, a neighborhood in Miami famous for its rich culture, one that is as colorful and diverse as the art, music, fashion, and flavorful cuisine visitors find in its streets, has become what The New York Times calls the "Ground Zero for the Zika Virus."

While the virus was discovered decades ago and was found to be primarily spread by mosquito bites that occurred during international travel, with pregnant women able to pass the infection and the serious fetal brain defects that come with it onto their unborn children, Zika's sudden resurgence on media outlets has valid cause for alarm — the cases identified in late July were locally-transmitted. From Palm Beach County to Miami-Dade County, the total number tallies up to 21 people newly diagnosed with the virus. Of those, the Florida Health Department announced that 18 were documented in Wynwood. As a result, the CDC released as travel-advisory warning, urging travelers in and out of the redlined, no-go zone to take precaution.

This less than one-square-mile district, normally crammed with creativity, is now the hotbed of active transmissions. And Wynwood's hot restaurant scene, the bloodline of the community, is now running dry. Prominent outdoor concepts, such as The Wynwood Yard, and the Miami Culinary Tours, which guide guests as they explore the restaurant and art around the city, are indefinitely closed for business. Still, there are others that are saying that it's all business as usual.

So, which is it? Is this active virus warning hitting South Florida tourism and the restaurant industry hard? Or are guests disregarding this issue with a simple swat of their hands? Foodable took to the streets of Wynwood (armed with a whole 'lotta repellent spray) to see how consumers and operators are trying to avoid bugging out.

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