For Mindy McIlroy, traveling has always inspired her work. After romping through European produce markets, and devouring her way through Eataly in Manhattan, the commercial real estate exec knew that Miami Beach needed a food hall.
She had just the spot: the always-bustling Lincoln Road, where her longtime employer, Terranova Corporation, owns six buildings. That was five years ago — long before 2018’s frenzy of food hall openings.
Her team at Terranova, also involved with the recent revamp of Coral Gables’ Miracle Mile, came up with the plans for a three-story building, one block north of Lincoln Road, which now houses The Lincoln Eatery. Inside are 16 carefully curated concepts that are either new to Miami or from solid local purveyors; a rooftop terrace is coming soon.
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“Food halls not only attract tourists, but they bring the local community together, which is what we strive for when we lease our assets on Lincoln Road,” McIlroy said. “We’re incredibly invested in the community.”
Visitors can choose from artisanal sandwiches at Necessary Purveyor, frozen treats made of Mexican fruits from Manhattan Paletas, and traditional kosher bites from New York-style deli Marble & Rye. While McIlroy loves all the choices, she said she’s especially excited about Patagonia’s authentic empanadas, the impressive coffee presentations of XO Espresso Bar, and the smoke-show of ChillN Nitrogen Ice Cream.
“The Lincoln Eatery is not just about eating,” she said. “It’s also about entertaining programming from live performances to yoga.”
LIKE A BOSS
McIlroy is also basking in a recent promotion from executive vice president to president of Terranova — she’s the third woman to lead the company in its nearly 40-year history. The Syracuse native landed there 21 years ago, after quitting her job in the high-pressure hospitality industry.
“One day I realized that I hadn’t even been to the beach yet,” she recalled. “I ended up taking some time off to explore Miami. That lasted two weeks.”
A staffing agency sent McIlroy on an interview at Terranova, where she immediately secured a job as executive assistant to the owner. Since then, she’s played a role in the company’s foray into mixed-use retail projects and lifestyle entertainment centers and has bragging rights to nearly a billion dollars in retail leasing deals.
“I’ve never felt like I’ve reached a glass ceiling,” McIlroy said, “unlike others in my field who have to fight to have their voice heard in a male-dominated industry.”
NEW LEASE ON LIFE
After receiving a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease four years ago, McIlroy was initially afraid to tell the company about the progressive illness that would lead to certain limitations. Terranova, and her industry peers, responded with overwhelming support.
“After telling them, I was so relieved and knew I needed to do something to raise awareness for Parkinson’s, because it’s not just an elderly person’s disease,” she said. McIlroy joined the Parkinson’s Foundation board, where she’s personally helped raised more than $500,000 and Terranova has contributed more than $1 million.
McIlroy’s two worlds will collide again in October, when the Parkinson’s Foundation and the company will host an informal gala at The Lincoln Eatery, showcasing celebrity chefs to raise money for awareness.
“I really feel like your view of life is how you frame it,” McIlroy said. “I choose to look at things in a positive light.”