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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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!

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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!

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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!

How Rich's Helps Define Clean Label and Sustainability

Consumers are demanding authenticity.

Authenticity in their products, foods, brands, you name it.

On this episode of The Barron Report, Jen VanDewater, Vice President of Health and Authenticity at Rich Products Corporation, sits down with our host Paul Barron to discuss how a large company like Rich’s is addressing consumer concerns over clean labeling and authenticity when it boils down to the products they offer.

Listen above to learn more about this company’s sustainability and social efforts!


Show Notes:

  • 03:57 - Driving Factor Pushing Companies To Make Changes

  • 04:32 - Defining Clean Label

  • 06:47 - How Rich's Monitors The Market

  • 08:29 - Social Trends Monitoring

  • 10:47 - Trends In The Marketplace

  • 11:38 - Customer Portfolio Analysis

  • 13:06 - Verifying If Products have a Clean Label

  • 14:16 - How Rich's Looks at Data around Clean Label

  • 18:31 - Trends in Consumer Demand

  • 22:52 - Real Meaning of Sustainability

  • 26:08 - Rich's Sustainability Efforts

  • 28:22 - Operators Attitudes Towards Sustainability

 
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How Which Wich Differentiates Itself from Competitors With Its Menu and Ordering System

High-quality ingredients are the driving force motivating consumers to visit better-for-you concepts. Some of these concepts are highlighted in Foodable’s free Top 50 Sandwich Innovator guide and report.

To give you a sneak peek into one of the sandwich innovator concepts in the list, we decided to visit Which Wich and meet with its founder, Jeff Sinelli.

Sinelli founded the first Which Wich in Dallas in late 2003. Now, this brand can be found in its 500 locations in 40 states and 12 countries.

“I was looking for the next thing to do and I was eating a lot of sandwiches at the time… and I just realized I thought I could do it better,” said Sinelli.

One of Which Wich’s biggest differentiators is its customization capabilities in their ordering system. They encourage their customers to write their name on their orders and personalize their sandwiches by checking off what ingredients they want to be included right on the sandwich bag.

Which Wich is not Sinelli’s first venture.

Prior to this sandwich concept, Which Wich’s Chief Vibe Officer had developed dozens of successful independent restaurants, bars and nightclubs before deciding to focus on national concepts—like Genghis Grill, a Mongolian barbecue chain Sinelli had created in 1998, grew to 11 stores in 5 states, and sold in 2003.

Which Wich has been Sinelli’s most successful business venture and he attributes a large part of the concept’s popularity to its diversified menu.

“We have a full spectrum of things for anyone who eats sandwiches. I want the food to be craveable, unique, and things you can only get at Which Wich… I think quality is about the elevation of food and people together and that’s what we try to provide at Which Wich,” said Sinelli.

To learn about some of Sinelli’s favorite menu items check out the video above! And to learn the ranking score of this innovative sandwich restaurant and others, be sure to check out our free Top 50 Sandwich Innovator report brought to you by Miss Vickie’s! Want to listen all about the concept that was ranked No. 1? Be sure to check out The Barron Report’s latest episode with Hunter Pond founder of East Hampton!

How Rich's is Helping Combat Food Waste Through Product Solutions

“[Consumers] expect the exact same product that they would get if they sat down in the restaurant when they get it delivered to their house… so packaging is really important,” says Diana Schaefer, Associate Customer Marketing Manager for Rich’s Products. “If you have a sauce or dressed product you want to make sure it’s just as fresh when it gets to the customer.”

According to the National Restaurant Association, it is estimated that 70 percent of customers will be ordering food off of restaurant premises by 2020. Foodable Labs has identified that catering order interest has increased 32.5 percent in the past year with the Top 100 restaurant chains. In this episode of The Barron Report, host Paul Barron sits down with Diana Schaefer to explore the latest catering trends to make sure foodservice operators are not missing an opportunity in the category of catering.

“Thinking about what’s on your menu that is easy to scale up, there are just some products that we’re just not going to make 50 servings of and have that great high-quality…,” explains Schaefer. “Having really good supply chain partners that understand these issues and can bring you solutions is really important to be successful.”

Schaefer shares with Foodable that packaging companies were looking at Rich’s cookies during a recent K-12 convention in Las Vegas and said they had packaging solutions in order for the cookies to be sold as a grab and go item by using a packaging solution with a warming technology. Although Rich’s still has to do some product testing for quality assurance, the company is excited to provide these types of solutions to their customers moving forward.

Listen to the podcast above to learn about some of the solutions Rich's offers to help chefs and foodservice professionals stay ahead of the game and combat food waste!


Show Notes:

  • 3:35 - Biggest challenge in catering

  • 12:25 - Rich’s Catering Product Solutions

  • 15:00 - Drive behind demand for Catering and Delivery

  • 16:45 - Millennial and Gen Z Consumer Trends

  • 20:11 - Millennial Dining Occasions Data

  • 21:30 - Grocery Stores Change Predictions

  • 23:40 - Savory and Sweet Eggspediates

Lucuma, Peru's New Superfood is Making its Way to U.S. Menus

With rich geography like the Andes Mountains and the Amazon rainforest, Peru introduced superfoods quinoa and acai berries to the world. Lucuma, the latest nutritious food hailing from Peru is appearing to menus globally.

The fruit resembles a large, orange-fleshed avocado with a caramel taste profile. Health benefits of lucuma are that it’s high in beta carotene, iron, zinc, calcium, protein, and fiber. As well as containing antioxidants and potassium, which are thought to be good for your heart, immune system, and skin.

Growing at altitudes of about 9,000 feet, it is impossible to find fresh outside of South America due to lucuma’s delicate nature it begins to spoil right after picking.

So how are chefs and retailers like Moon Juice and Walmart acquiring it?

Shipped around the world frozen or in powdered form, lucuma has made its way to menus and homes alike.

As a powder, lucuma is often promoted as a sweetener. Juice bars present it as a booster, but it's popularly found in desserts.

La Mar Cebicheria Peruana in San Francisco serves lucuma ice cream with a chocolate mousse. Rosaliné in Los Angeles creates lucuma ice cream bonbons, and Nazca Mochica in Washington offers it in a tiramisu. Chef Erik Ramirez of Michelin “bib gourmand” restaurant Llama Inn, currently uses lucuma in a mousse but plans to make the fruit a bigger deal at his soon-to-open rotisserie chicken spot Llamita in Manhattan’s West Village.

“We’re going to give lucuma more exposure,” said Ramirez. Planning to offer it in a smoothie mixed with Peruvian coffee. “It’s going to be on display in all its glory.”

Learn more about the Peruvian superfruit taking over menus in the video above and at “Bloomberg.”