There’s finally a reason for locals to get excited about eating on Lincoln Road.
To set itself apart from the half-dozen food halls coming to South Florida in the next year, Time Out Market Miami went for an aggressive, straightforward approach for its first in the United States, scheduled to open in 2018: Get names that locals recognize and give them a place to easily experiment with new food.
Time Out this week announced the first seven of 17 restaurants coming to its upscale food court, and the names are among Miami’s homegrown favorites: Pubbelly founder José Mendín; Macchialina’s Michael Pirolo; Kush and Lokal innovator Matt Kuscher; Coyo Taco’s Scott Linquist; Jugofresh and (now-closed) Paradigm Kitchen’s Matthew Sherman and the wunderkind, 25-year-old pastry chef at Pubbelly, Maria Orantes.
“It’s like opening a restaurant with all your friends,” Linquist said. “What South Beach really needs is a place for everyone. This is going to be a place where locals can come. It’s giving people a reason to cross the causeway.”
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This won’t be a grab-and-go, stripped-down version of these restaurants. Instead, Time Out envisions the wide-open, 17,500-square-foot indoor market as a place where these chefs can experiment with new dishes — or entirely new concepts.
It wants to be the place where new careers are launched and South Florida’s next great restaurant gets its start, the founders said. Restaurants will have one-year leases they can renew, and they will likely change often as the trends change.
“We didn’t invite chefs to do a cheap spinoff of what they do. They’re doing what they do best,” said João Cepeda, president and creative director of Miami’s Time Out Market.
The market will also have a pop-up space they’re calling a demo kitchen, where a rising chef can try out a niche idea. Think of the one-time Phuc Yeah, which started as an evening pop-up downtown, led to the beloved-but-defunct The Federal and finally opened as its own free-standing Vietnamese-inspired restaurant in the MiMo district. Ditto with Giorgio Rapicavoli’s Eating House, which started as a pop-up in another restaurant before he opened his home run of a restaurant in Coral Gables.
All the dishes at every restaurant will be served on china with silverware. Oh, and Time Out’s mandate will be for each meal — with a main entree and a drink — to cost $20.
“This is what we mean when we talk about the democratization of fine dining,” said Time Out Market CEO Didier Souillat.
All of these chefs have experimental ideas in mind.
Pirolo had been perfecting a cold-fermented pizza dough for more than two years when he finally debuted it Sundays at Macchialina. It became such a hit that Sunday dinner reservations often filled up by Thursday. So he decided his spot at the Time Out Market would be dedicated to “grandma pies,” the New York-style neighborhood pizza joints that have their own followings.
Mendín won’t be opening another Pubbelly or Pubbelly Sushi. Instead, he’ll be in the kitchen himself, making home-cooked recipes.
His pastry chef since she was 19, Kendall’s Maria Orantes, now 25, has been experimenting with sweet and savory baked goods during weekend brunch at Pubbelly. Now, she’ll bring those ideas to the Time Out Market with an all-day bakery she’s calling Buht-er.
Kuscher clearly knows how to dial in a new concept, given how he turned a waiting area at his burger joint, Lokal, into Vicky’s House milkshake bar, which he made to look like his mom’s 1980s kitchen. His food hall concept is still in the works.
Linquist will experiment with new kinds of tacos at this Coyo, including making his own tortillas and roasting whole lamb and goat.
Paradigm Kitchen, an all-day-breakfast and lunch style place that used only locally sourced products, was mourned when it closed in Sunset Harbour in May. It will return with a more dialed-in idea: soups, salads, hearty “toasts” (think avocado toast), and a daily special entree for dinner. It will be paired with a Jugofresh outpost.
Time Out’s food hall idea was perhaps the only way for independent restaurants to combat exorbitant rents and return to Lincoln Road.
The restaurants will share the expansive space just off the southeastern edge of the walking district, at 1601 Drexel Ave. It will be open all day with three bars in the middle, surrounded by the restaurants and parking in a garage above it.
And the restaurants won’t have to endure the costly build-out of a new location. Time Out has designed all of the kiosks to be turnkey for any new restaurant to quickly start cooking.
Time Out’s first food hall, in a renovated 100-year-old building in Lisbon, proved it could work. Cepeda said the food hall drew more than 3.1 million visitors last year and proved one of Portugal’s greatest attractions — though it is much larger at almost 75,000 square feet.
Miami’s will be the first of several Time Out markets in America. (Earlier this week, they announced another at Fenway Park in Boston.) And this first will be no small test: breathing culinary life back into Lincoln Road.
“This will be the place to eat on Lincoln Road,” Mendín said.