Giraffas, Manolo's & Novecento: Miami Leads United States' Food Culture UPDATED
Update: Giraffas announced that they have chosen Miami-Dade to be the Brazilian chain's U.S. headquarters adding 285 direct new jobs within three years and an initial capital investment of $8 million. Congratulations on your 285 new jobs, Miami.
The interview shed light on the in-depth workings of the Brazillian burger chain Giraffas. Giraffas' U.S. marketing director, Carlos Vanegas, spoke with the writer about the fast-casual concept, the different cuts of meat, current and prospective locations, and so on.
But the HuffPo headline made us think: America may not be ready for a Brazillian burger chain, but Miami's been on top of that since 2011 when the first Giraffas in the States opened here.
This can only mean one thing: Miami is ahead of the times when it comes to food culture.
- Brazilian Chain Giraffas Opens Stateside
Who knew that Giraffas' three locations in Miami mean we have high acceptance of cultural diversity?
It speaks volumes.
Our city is home to a handful of Latin American chains that exist nowhere else in the country (save New York, but that is a beast of its own). Manolo's is an Argentine restaurant chain from Buenos Aires. Novecento in Brickell, Key Biscayne, and Midtown is also from Argentina. In 2011, we got Giraffas burgers from Brazil.
"I don't see us heading to Wichita, Kansas right away," says Venegas."We need diversity and an audience with high acceptance of new things."
An audience with high acceptance of new things. What else is Miami if not highly accepting of diversity and new things and new people and cultures?
We're a city built and nurtured by immigrants from all parts of the world (yes, some parts in particular), and our food scene reflects that.
I just returned from a trip to a small town in North Carolina. Do you know what restaurants were there? Chili's. And Culver's. And Cracker Barrel. Know what's in Greenwood, Indiana? Applebee's. The closest thing they have to "diversity" is Panda Express and Taco Bell.
Meanwhile, Miami is chock full of international chains and independently owned places that serve food from different parts of the world. And it's one thing to have those types of places in a city. It's quite another for them to thrive and be welcome and accepted.
It's clear that investors are more likely to choose Miami (or New York or L.A., but that's about it) to invest in an international chain rather than anywhere else.
That's something to take pride in.
Could these chains potentially bog down the prospects of American chains thriving in this city? Do we even care?
Follow Alex on Twitter @ARodWrites.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.