In the past 50 years, Miami's landscape and very culture have changed dramatically, but there are still bits of Old Florida if you look.
One such haven is Robert Is Here, located in Homestead.
More than a typical fruit stand, this piece of Americana opened in 1959, when a 6-year-old Robert Moehling Jr. was selling fruits and vegetables on the side of the road leading to Everglades National Park.
Since then, Robert Is Here has expanded into a true attraction, luring tour buses and day trippers through live music, antique cars, alligator jerky, and barnyard animals.
The main attraction is and has always been the tropical fruit. Robert and his family still run the stand with an attentiveness that harks back to a half0century ago. Ask nicely, and Moehling will gladly slice your mango or share a piece of jackfruit.
Next Friday, November 11, Robert Is Here will be recognized for its long-standing efforts when it's added to the National Food & Beverage Foundation (NatFAB)'s National Culinary Heritage Register. A presentation ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. at the fruit stand.
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To be considered for entry to the National Culinary Heritage Register, an establishment must be at least 50 years old and have "contributed significantly to the development of American foodways." The register was created by New Orleans-based National Food & Beverage Foundation to preserve the history of food and beverage in America, according to president Liz Williams.
Robert Is Here is the first Florida establishment to be entered into the registry. It joins some of the nation's best-loved names in food, including Antoine's in New Orleans, Frank Sinatra's hangout Dominick's in West Hollywood, and Wintzell's Oyster House in Mobile, Alabama.
Heather Moehling, Robert Is Here's director of public relations, says, "We are deeply honored to be affiliated with the National Culinary Heritage Registry and are humbled to have been a part of this growing South Dade community since 1959. Our goal has been to provide an educating experience of South Florida's finest rare and exotic tropical fruits, and it is only with our loyal customers that mission has been a continued success.”
Though Robert Is Here is the first Florida entry into the registry, it certainly won't be the last. A representative for the National Food & Beverage Foundation has confirmed that an invitation for Joe's Stone Crab is in the works and that NatFAB "absolutely wants them."