Smorgasburg, the largest open-air food market in America with locations in New York and Los Angeles, is launching in Miami in the heart of Wynwood at 2612 NW 2nd Ave. in March.
The name is a play on the Swedish “smorgasbord” meaning a wide array of foods. The original market in Williamsburg, Brooklyn opened in 2011, and instantly became a popular destination for New Yorkers, regularly drawing upwards of 10,000-weekend visitors in search of a great afternoon of eating, drinking, and meeting up with friends. The market also served as an affordable starting point for food vendors wanting to test out their concepts for a large audience without the overhead and risk of a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Known as the place to go for creative, often groundbreaking food and drink, the concept’s success led to a Los Angeles expansion in 2016, as well as satellite locations in Jersey City and Lower Manhattan, and annual pop-ups in Sao Paulo and Japan, making Smorgasburg a global phenomenon.
Gaston Becherano Cohen, the owner of Omotenashi Group, brings Smorgasburg to Miami. His first exposure to the concept was as a vendor in New York, where he launched the first iteration of Bonsai, selling kakigori — hand-cranked Japanese shaved ice. The popularity he experienced with Bonsai at Smorgasburg paved the way for a brick-and-mortar restaurant on the Lower East Side. He is interested in bringing the same opportunities to Miami’s culinary community. Born in Mexico and raised in Miami, he’s spent the past few years getting to know the community and believes the time is ripe for Smorgasburg Miami.
Smorgasburg Miami will be open on Saturdays from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. in the epicenter of Wynwood. The 50,000 square-foot park-like settings will ultimately host 60 food vendors and about 10 retail vendors. Vendors will be positioned around the perimeter of the space with central seating composed of different colored picnic tables. Some of the confirmed vendors visitors can expect to see include Miami-based businesses; Ted's Burgers, Drinking Pig BBQ, Eleventh Street Pizza, The Sister Yard, El Diner Latino, and The Maize Project. For more information visit, smorgasburgmiami.com.
Check out these recently opened spots
Flagler Village is home to the second location of Batch New Southern Kitchen and Tap. The Palm Beach spot opened its new 5,500 square-foot location at the end of last year in the former Mellow Mushroom location and boasts a large outdoor patio. The restaurant serves Southern favorites, craft cocktails and features an “epic brunch party.” The locally sourced farm-to-table, comfort food menu includes slow-smoked burnt ends, shrimp n’ grits, and, for vegetarians, a BBQ jackfruit “pulled pork” sandwich. 525 N. Federal, BatchSouthernKitchen.com.
Downtown Oakland Park has a new eatery. Paisa Bites showcases Colombian street food; including empanadas and hot dogs or hamburgers covered with everything from garlic mayo, pineapple sauce, crushed potato chips, and even quail eggs. The restaurant, opened in November by Tatiana Vasquez and Alejandra Canaveral, also serves maicitos (sort of a cheese and corn fondue) and salchipapas (pan-fried hot dogs and French fries). Dessert options include the traditional tres leches cake and Colombian-style milk pudding, 3499 N. Dixie, 860-985-2188, PaisaBites.com. Also, watch for another addition to Oakland Park’s dining scene later this winter, as Monarch Kitchen takes flight. It will feature a melding of Caribbean and Latin cuisine with a Floridian twist. Menu items will include pulled pork sliders and black truffle potato salad. It will be located at 3492 NE 12 Ave., 305-204-1001, MonarchKitchen.com.
You don’t often think of Middle-Eastern and openly gay being compatible, but all that is about to change if Ahmad Alkhaldi, owner of Wilton Manors’ newest spot, Palmyra Lounge, has anything to say about it. “I opened this restaurant and hookah bar in Wilton Manors because this is my community. I’m gay. I wanted a Middle Eastern place I can go to with my boyfriends and not be judged.”
The lounge, bringing some much-needed diversity to Wilton Manors' dining options, opened in October. Popular dishes are kabobs, kibbeh, and hummus. Palmyra is named after the city in Syria where Alkhaldi’s family owned farms. “Palmyra means love to my family.” 2031 Wilton Drive; 754-216-2727.
Actor/rapper Dalyboy Belgason will open Kachi Afro Caribbean Lounge on Las Olas later this year. This location will be in addition to three other Kachi Afro Caribbean Lounges in Tijuana, Mexico; Hollywood, Calif.; and Victoria Island, Nigeria. It’s moving into the space formerly occupied by Two& bike shop, 1517 E. Las Olas, 561-288-2025, AfroCaribbeanLounge.com. Also moving into the Los Olas ‘hood is Coyo Taco, the clubby high-end taqueria from Wynwood. It is taking over the former SuViche space (if it hasn’t done so by the time you read this). Expect hand-pressed corn tortillas filled with cochinita pibil, alambre, pollo al carbon, and crispy duck, as well as salads and burrito bowls. 401 E. Las Olas, Coyo-Taco.com.
Less than six months after opening Oakland Park’s Fat Tap Beer Bar and Eatery has closed its doors. The pub and brewery were unable to draw a crowd. The owners, Robert and Yvette Robayna announced the closing on social media. Robayna blamed the city of Oakland Park for not supporting his business. “When you own a business across the street from City Hall, and no one from City Hall visits you, what are you going to do?” Robayna says. “I don’t mind saying this because I have nothing to lose anymore. We had one good month, which was the first month, when everyone came out to see it, and every month since has been less and less and less.”
Lack of business may also have to do with the fact that the place never even put up a sign on the storefront. Robayha said, “Putting a sign up would attract new people, but I was upset my regulars weren’t coming back.”
Maybe there was a reason for that.