Personal finance site NerdWallet ranked 530 cities in the nation for the best cities to open a restaurant in. Miami Beach made the top 50 at number 48, Miami closely followed at number 68, but North Miami was far behind at 274.
Brustman Carrino Public Relations President Larry Carrino, who has worked in the restaurant industry for more than 20 years, says he's happy to even see Miami on the list.
"This market has grown leaps and bounds," says Carrino. "When you look at other major culinary cities like New York, New Orleans, or San Francisco, their food scene has been growing for hundreds of years. Miami started in the late '80s. And look at everything that has happened from then to 2015. From Wynwood, Sunny Isles, and Downtown Miami, you have amazing chefs and restaurateurs opening up interesting and unique places."
According to NerdWallet, the company selected cities with a population of at least 50,000 and used factors like demand for new restaurants and economic conditions to determine rankings. Population growth and density, median annual income and income growth, restaurant sales per resident, number of new eateries, payroll costs, growth in labor, and median monthly housing costs were also taken into account.
While Carrino wasn't aware of how NerdWallet compiled their analysis, he believes Miami Beach is what comes to mind when people think of Miami, which might explain why Miami Beach was the highest ranked city in Florida.
"When people think Miami, they think of the beach, and the shorelines, and all the art deco hotels," he says. "But it's not all about Miami Beach anymore. I really feel we don't get the respect or media attention we deserve when talking about serious national food press. As a marketplace, we continue to struggle against this perception that our food is not where it fundamentally should be."
According to Carrino, the biggest problems he sees for restaurateurs looking to call Miami home are both believing they know the ins and outs of the Miami market and their unwillingness to be flexible.
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"What works in LA, New York, or Chicago doesn’t necessarily work here," he says. "This is a very interesting, unique, and challenging market. There's also a casualness about this market and how we are as locals. Restaurants that are overly formal will probably have a harder time than ones who embrace what makes Miami what it is."
But to Carrino, Miami as a whole is habitually overlooked because of misconceptions on what this city has to offer.
"Take away the sand and beaches, cars and hotels, and all the glamour, we have amazing restaurants and people working very hard to innovate our market," he says. "When you consider how old the ‘food scenes’ are in other ‘serious food cities,’ no one could say we haven’t come incredibly far in a very short amount of time. All the while, I don’t think we’re duplicating anybody. We're trying to be us and put our own unique spin on the culinary scene."