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!

McDonald’s Jumps on the Vegan Bandwagon 

McDonald’s Jumps on the Vegan Bandwagon 

Quick serve chains are struggling to appeal to the health-conscious consumer, especially as health-halo concepts are disrupting the market. 

Not to mention, food-focused documentaries are still educating consumers about where their food is being sourced from. This is causing guests to be more selective about where they dine.

With that being said, QSR chains are being forced to elevate their standards and to offer more options for consumers with special dietary needs.

McDonald’s is now offering a “McVegan” burger for a limited time. Although this is a step in the right direction, the burger is only available at the Tampere, Finland store until November 21. 

But this is likely a test by the fast food chain and if the menu item performs well, we may see the vegan-friendly option available at several McDonald’s stores across the world.

The “McVegan” is similar to the McDonald’s staple the Quarter Pounder. The cheese-less burger comes with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, ketchup, and mustard. 

But the burger isn’t the only vegan offering being served. 

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6 Brands Embracing the Plant-Based Eating Phenomenon

6 Brands Embracing the Plant-Based Eating Phenomenon

By Adria Valdes Greenhauff, Editor-at-Large

Eating vegan — or at least trying out a part-time vegan diet — has officially gone mainstream. Thanks to a new generation of health- and environmentally-conscious celebrities that include everyone from actress Kate Mara to pop star Ariana Grande and even rapper Wacka Flocka, more consumers are embracing the benefits that come along with plant-based eating.

According to U.S. News and World Report, a diet heavy in fruits and veggies may help ward off chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension. And with new studies showing that processed meats like ham, salami and sausage may cause certain types of cancers, it’s no wonder plant-based diets are on the rise, especially among millennials.

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Singapore's VeganBurg Headed to the Bay Area

VeganBurg's Plant Based Burger  | Facebook

VeganBurg's Plant Based Burger | Facebook

Capitalizing on San Francisco's recent obsession with healthy and meat-free dining options, plant based Singaporean fast casual VeganBurg is slated to open in the Bay Area this summer.  

The first outpost outside of Asia, VeganBurg offers a number of healthy dining options such as a Hawaiian Teriyaki burger and Char-Grilled Satay burger, both made with the chains signature soy patties, alongside the Tangy Tartar, a vegan pseudo Filet-O-Fish, featuring a specialty cholesterol-free tartar sauce. 

VeganBurg is set to open in the Upper Haight inside the former location of All You Knead.  If successful, it is predicted that the healthy chain will look to open several more chains nationwide.  Read More