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!

Miami Dolphins Legend Turns Restaurant Innovator with New Tapas Concept

Miami Dolphins Legend Turns Restaurant Innovator with New Tapas Concept

On this episode of Foodable’s Smart Kitchen, Paul welcomes former Miami Dolphin and Restaurateur, Kim Bokamper and the chef of Kim’s new restaurant concept The Balcony, Chef Simon Porter. The Balcony just opened up a few weeks ago, bringing the tastes of New Orleans to Las Olas, a popular social area in South Florida.

But what’s special about this concept is the menu style. While New Orleans fare is normally very hearty and served in large portions, Chef Porter and the PDKN restaurant group worked together to create smaller tasting sizes of New Orleans classics so guests can taste a number of dishes, getting the full experience of NOLA.

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The Votes Are In, America’s Favorite Donut Shop is…

They’re hot, doughy, glazed and sprinkled. Whether you like a brioche or yummy yeast, no one can deny the appeal of a quality donut. But are some donuts better than others? According to Foodable Labs data, there are some clear leaders of the pack; some of which you may have heard of before.

Winner! District: Donuts.Sliders.Brew

According to data from January through July of this year, District: Donuts.Sliders.Brew has a 95.6 consumer sentiment rating out of 100! Previously featured on Foodable’s Fast Casual Nation, this spot is a must-stop.

So what makes this fast casual number one with consumers? Well, first of all, District hand makes their donuts all day in small batches, so they’re always fresh. Donuts from District are categorized as either regular, fancy, or EXTRA fancy. With incredibly imaginative donut flavors like Vietnamese Iced Coffee, Kolache, and Ginger Mint Julep, customers never get bored. And with more than a hundred varieties, District’s donut menu changes daily!

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While the name may lead you to believe you can grab a brewski at the shop, the “brew” in District: Donuts.Sliders.Brew actually refers to coffee. It makes sense considering their claim to fame is coffee’s best friend. But donut fret, District is BYOB.

Stop in for some donuts, but be sure to grab a taste of the incredible sliders and coffee they've got available too.

Voodoo Doughnut


Coming in at number two is a veteran of the most loved donut ranking. Voodoo Doughnut has long been known for their crazy creations and lengthy lines. It’s important that you notice the spelling here. Voodoo has made it part of their mission to return the lexicon to the spelling of DOUGHNUT.

Started in Portland by Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson and Tres Shannon, Voodoo combines art, science and a little bit of know-how to serve up their crave-able doughnuts. The Portland-based shop offers fun flavors like Grape Ape, Tangfastic and the legendary (and copyrighted) Maple Bacon Bar as well as an array of tasty vegan doughnuts.

Voodoo was last year’s winner; it will be interesting to see how these top brands duke it out.

Donut Byte Labs

Some appeal of the donut craze has been the massive size of the treats, some can be as big as your head! But at Donut Byte Labs, they’re trying something a little different.


Ranked at n. 3, Donut Byte Labs has only been open since 2015, but have since grown an impressive following. Customers across America sing its praises on review sites which reflect, clearly, in our sentiment data.

Donut Byte Labs serves only mini-donuts, all fried up by their donut robot, which is housed in their permanently established food truck. Once the donuts come off the line, they are cooled and hand decorated before being gobbled up by eager customers.

From their truck, they churn out mini cake donuts in classic flavors as well as in “advanced” flavors like Burnside Cream, Milk and Honey, and Lemon Drop.

And what were the favorite donuts from all shops across the country?

Who will wear next year’s donut crown? Stay tuned to Foodable for that and more eye-opening (and mouthwatering) data.


Cochon Butcher Serves Up the Whole Hog, From Southern Barbecue to Italian Salumi

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What started as an attempt to bring Cajun Country inspired plates to New Orleans has grown into thriving sandwich shop, butcher shop, and wine bar Cochon Butcher. The idea to take an old-world, meat-market-esque concept into the fast casual sphere expanded from its owners', Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski, traditional, Cajun Southern establishment, Cochon Restaurant.

The more casual Butcher breaks down pigs for the main Cochon Restaurant, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it lies in the shadow of its elevated dining brother. In seven years, Cochon Butcher has gone on to receive recognition in its own right as a heightened fast-casual spot. Due to its unique structure, running as a butcher shop, a sandwich shop, and a wine bar all in one, it caters to customers of all types. Its atmosphere varies from bustling sandwich and soda shop around lunch, to a delightful bistro-like setting in the evening.

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Their menu offers traditional sandwiches, like the Barbecue Pork served Carolina style, as well as elevated housemade pastas paying homage to Italian salumi and charcuterie. The Butcher specializes in housemade cured meats, terrines, and sausages available by the pound.

In this episode of “Fast Casual Nation,” brought to you by the Foodable WebTV Network, we visit Cochon Butcher where Chef de Cuisine Hank Shackelford assembles a menu with Cajun Country and Creole influences. Host Paul Barron stops in to discuss the diverse menu and how it’s been received by New Orleans.