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!

The New Miami: How KYU is Elevating the Food Scene in Wynwood

KYU (pronounced “cue” like in barbecue) opened its doors in early 2016 in the art district of Miami, Florida known as Wynwood. The wood-fired Asian-American concept, brought to Miami by Chef Michael Lewis and Steven Haigh, has cemented itself as a cornerstone of the Miami’s burgeoning food scene. The culinary explosion is in part because of the development of the city. With more exciting spaces opening up Miami-wide — new ideas, customers, and money are pouring into developing areas and renowned chefs and restaurateurs are seizing the opportunity.

Chef Michael Lewis is the co-founder and executive chef at KYU. Lewis has cooked all over the world; leading teams, opening restaurants, and working with chefs like Jean-Georges. Lewis was Chef de Cuisine at Jean Georges restaurant on Central Park West which earned three Michelin Stars at the time.

In 2016, Lewis teamed up with Steven Haigh a 20-year restaurant and hospitality veteran to open KYU. One year after opening, KYU was nominated for its first James Beard for “Best New Restaurant”.

One of the biggest draws of KYU, outside Chef Lewis’s mouthwatering food, is the environment and the amazing service. When you’re there it just feels good. KYU is the new Miami — upscale and sexy, not overpriced, and just looking to have a good time.

On this episode of Table 42, Paul sits with Chef Michael Lewis and Steven Haigh to talk about how the restaurant connects with the community, the thoughtful design, and KYU’s unique name. Not to mention we get a behind the scenes look at popular menu items like the roasted cauliflower with goat cheese, shishito, and herb vinaigrette and the Wagyu beef brisket with black shichimi pepper.

Foodable Labs Releases Miami's Top 25 Restaurant List

Foodable Labs Releases Miami's Top 25 Restaurant List

Hey there Miami! Did you miss us?

Foodable Labs is back to share the updated Miami Top 25 list. This compilation is based on a large consumer sample set and it has provided us with an exciting restaurant list that features 17 new spots to check-out.

What is great about Miami is the fact that it has something for every palate.

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Miami Chefs Do What the F**K They Want

Video Produced by Denise Toledo

Miami is a city with its own flair. On this first episode of "Chef's Alliance Round Table", Paul Barron talks to some of Miami’s best chefs who are making names for themselves without trying to be like anybody else.

Giorgio Rapicavoli said it best, “I don’t think anybody in Miami really cares about being on that level. I mean honestly, I don’t want to be New York. I don’t want to be San Francisco. We are Miami. We made this city, the city made us. And I think a lot of what we do has to do with making the city better.”

Paula DaSilva adds, “Whether or not we ever reach the level of New York or San Francisco, what does it matter? ...I think we're there.”

Many of these chefs have been grinding in Miami for years, building their businesses within the constraints of the growing city. These great chefs came together around the South Beach Wine and Food Festival to discuss some of the trends we’re seeing today.

Shannon Allen, creator of the organic fast-food drive-thru Grown said, “I think if you're not going farm to table, if you’re not sourcing local ingredients, you’re going to have to answer the questions of a customer [who's] very smart, has dealt with health problems, has food allergies, is very aware of what they're putting in their mouth...”

Foodable’s Chef's Alliance is your guide to the top 1,000 chefs around the country. Ranked by a 300-point system, Foodable Labs uses engagement, sentiment, and influence as metrics.

Want to see how the industry’s favorite chefs and artisans scored? Dive into the Chef's Alliance and the Top 100 Social Chefs here.

And keep an eye out for the full version of this Chefs Alliance Roundtable on Vimeo in the next few days!

Traditional German Döner Kebabs Become Modern American Fare at Spitfire

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Video produced by Denise Toledo

A few steps off Washington Avenue in Miami, Spitfire’s Oliver Yasin Freuen and Co-owner Aaron Hyatt turn out a popular German street food known as the Döner Kebab.

Freuen brought the idea over from northwestern Germany where he grew up surrounded by the traditionally Turkish flavors and Hyatt brought to the table over 20 years of restaurant operation experience. The joining of these partners was a match made in döner heaven.

Opened in early November of 2015, Spitfire was inspired by Freuen’s family history of döner kebab restaurants. The sandwiches have become immensely popular overseas and now they have spread to downtown Miami.

“We have a lot of European customers and some Turkish customers. They appreciate that we have the original tastes, the original flavors,” says Freuen.

For many visitors, the flavors are new. Freuen says his biggest mission is educating his American consumer base about döner kebabs and their ingredients and flavors.

“They’ve never heard this name before, where the food is coming from.” Aaron adds, "They think it might be shawarma."

Aside from offering interesting and great tasting food, Spitfire also listens to the needs of its consumer base. Hyatt notes that good business depends on reacting to customers' needs.

“With the other bowl that we have here, that’s the salad bowl. Of course, down here in South Florida everyone's looking to watch that waistline.”

Consumers can do just that without losing out on the flavors of the traditional döner. Each offering at Spitfire comes with your choice of spit-fired lamb or chicken and the tasty, time-honored toppings: tomatoes, pickled red and white cabbage, sumac onions, and a garlic tzatziki sauce, with a recipe that has been passed down generation by generation in Freuen’s family.

Check out how these partners are combining traditional flavors with modern business operation tactics on this episode of Fast Casual Nation.