Jackson Hall suddenly closed. What happened to Miami’s only health-focused food hall?

Miami's only health-focused food hall in the Jackson Memorial Hospital medical district has closed.
Miami's only health-focused food hall in the Jackson Memorial Hospital medical district has closed.

Jackson Hall tried to go against the grain, but in the end, it met a familiar restaurant fate.

The Miami food hall that focused on giving diners a host of healthy options — positioned in the Civica Center in the Jackson Health District — has closed after just six months in business. Its owners announced the decision on Instagram Tuesday, calling this “a deeply disappointing day.”

Wynwood Yard founder Della Heiman and longtime South Florida restaurateur Ken Lyon envisioned Jackson Hall as a perfect fit for Miami’s medical district. With few dining options near Jackson Memorial Hospital, a captive audience that appreciated delicious, thoughtful meals seemed likely.

Miami didn’t show up for it.

“We were hemorrhaging financially the entire time we were open,” Heiman said. “We felt we were rolling a rock up a hill for six months.”

We have made the difficult decision to close Jackson Hall, as of today, October 2, 2018. While this is a deeply disappointing day, we remain fully committed to serving the greater Miami community through transformative programming, culinary, cultural and wellness experiences. We are profoundly grateful to the many supporters who believed in our vision for the community of the Health District. We would also like to express tremendous appreciation for the talented team who helped us create and launch this ambitious project, and who made its many wheels turn each day, creating and serving delicious food and welcoming guests with our special brand of gracious hospitality and genuine warmth. Jackson Hall was created with the goal of creating a community of nourishment and connectedness in the health district. The decision to close our doors has not been an easy one. As a grassroots small business competing with heavily subsidized food offerings in the area, we learned through experience that our business model is not viable given the context and timing. Our next steps as a company will refocus our energy on ramping up our Magic Season at The Wynwood Yard, and we hope that our community will continue to gather with and support us there. We are incredibly excited to launch our best season ever at @wynwoodyard and to continue expanding the catering and programming arms of our business. We also look forward to sharing new projects on the horizon, including @northbeachyard with the Miami community. There is always much to learn from failure, but it weighs heavily on us that the closing of our business affects the futures and livelihoods of our team. We came to this difficult decision as we did to the initial concept for Jackson Hall — with great care and concern, and thoughtful consideration of the best trajectory for our company and community. We extend our humble thanks to our entire Jackson Hall family. – Della Heiman & Ken Lyon . . . . #jacksonhall #jacksonhallmiami #eatingelevated #yardhospitality #jacksonhealth #jacksonhospital #foodhalls #miamifoodhall #foodhall #miamifood #miamifoodnews #miamieats #miamiinfo #miamifoodie #wynwoodyard #thewynwoodyard

A post shared by Jackson Hall (@jacksonhallmia) on Oct 2, 2018 at 12:33pm PDT

It opened in April with six vendors, including Della Bowls, a poke shop, deli, Mediterranean cuisine, even a bar that served smoothies and kombucha along with beer, wine and spirits. Jackson Hall had even planned a hydroponic farm on the third floor of the building to provide produce to the hall’s vendors.

“We had a thesis that people would be willing to pay a little bit more for food that was healthy, thoughtful, locally sourced, organic… and we weren’t seeing the amount of business that we needed,” Heiman said.

Jackson Hall’s closing is the latest challenge for Heiman, who learned this summer that the land where her Wynwood Yard was founded had been sold, along with the entire next block, encompassing O Cinema.

Heiman is planning to open another yard in North Beach with help from the city of Miami Beach. She said the lessons from Jackson Hall will stay with her for that venture, set to open late next year.

“We’re going to take everything we learned at the Wynwood Yard and take it to a higher level,” she said.