Cameras huddled around former Miami Heat star Ray Allen, as usual, but mostly they were asking him to please step out of the way.
He was standing in his food’s light.
Grown, the South Miami restaurant he and his wife, Shannon, founded, will be the first completely organic restaurant featured inside a U.S. stadium when the Dolphins open their home season Sunday at the revamped (and renamed) Hard Rock Stadium.
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The two Grown locations inside the stadium (on the 100 and 200 levels) are among two new food options. The other, a South Florida name older than the stadium itself, Shula Burger, will have five outposts at the Dolphins home field. The stadium’s craft beer offering will also expand, with each of the 16 taps at two separate bars dedicated to only local brews, such as Doral’s MIA Beer Company, Wynwood’s J. Wakefield Brewing and Wynwood Brewing, and Fort Lauderdale’s 26 Degree Brewing.
“We really focused on bringing more local food options to Hard Rock Stadium,” said Jeremy Walls, the Dolphins’ chief marketing officer.
They join other local favorites: Café Versailles’ (Cuban sandwiches, croquetas, empanadas), Bru’s Room (those spicy-sweet wings), Sloppy Joe’s and Sushi Maki (sushi tacos, a spicy salmon Fins roll, lo mein noodles).
The headliner, despite the legendary Dolphins coach’s namesake, was Grown.
The Allens’ concept grew out of personal necessity. When their son Walker was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, they struggled to find fast, healthy options for a family with five children.
They developed the restaurant concept with executive chef Todd Kiley of Rainforest Cafe to focus on locally sourced, organic products. The stadium offerings reflect their restaurant menu.
“It good for people to know they have better eating options,” Ray Allen said. “We want people to think about how they eat and how they feed their children.”
They will offer wraps, such as a grilled marinated portobello mushroom wrap with organic mixed greens, quinoa tabbouleh, hummus, roasted red pepper and Mediterranean-style accompaniments.
But it’s not all vegetables. Grown also cues up wild-caught salmon burgers, free-range, panko-crusted chicken tenders with sweet potato chips and an assortment of fresh-pressed juices and smoothies.
How Miami is that?
“Just because you’re busy, or at the stadium, doesn’t mean we should accept food that’s not really food,” Shannon Allen said.
On the other end of the spectrum: meat.
Shula Burger has been a fast-growing South Florida staple for the same reason Don Shula’s steakhouses garnered such a following: They make simple, juicy meat done right.
The classic Shula Burger is a proprietary mix of premium Black Angus beef, short rib and brisket, topped with cheese and all or none of the veggies you’d like. The Shula BBQ Burger skips the greens and doubles down with thick, generous bacon slices and barbecue sauce.
To finish it off, there are more local beers.
Aside from 14 to 16 bottled craft beers from around the state, all of the beer on tap at the two bars will be dedicated to South Florida breweries. That includes the made-in-Dade Wynwood Brewing’s Pop’s Porter, Fort Lauderdale’s Funky Buddha Floridian and Top Gun, and Boynton Beach’s Due South Caramel Cream Ale.
“It’s about simple food, done well, with lots of local options,” Walls said.