Formerly named for the flagship St. Roch Market in New Orleans, the Magic City location rebranded after a settlement regarding name ownership was reached last year, following a 2018 lawsuit filed by the New Orleans Building Corporation and the City of New Orleans against Bayou Secret, which operated the Miami food hall.
Following the settlement, in February 2019, St. Roch Miami partner Will Donaldson formed a new company, Politan Group, designed to own and operate food halls. Before rebaptizing the Miami location, the firm opened a Politan Row in Chicago in May 2019 and one in Houston in November.
"We always knew we would have to make the adjustment, and in the end, it was a great decision for both parties," Donaldson says. "The name 'Politan Row' represents a lot more of what we are all about. The word "Politan" comes from the Greek root word polis, which translates to 'a body of citizens,' and one of the things that distinguish us from other food halls is our direct ties to the community. Most of our concepts are original and the actual purveyor is onsite as its main operator."
Included in the lineup is the sushi spot Itamae, whose chef Valerie Chang was recently named a semifinalist in the Rising Star Chef category of the James Beard Awards.
Aside from displaying new exterior signage, Politan Row boasts upgrades in patio furnishings and employee uniforms, along with a color refresh to some areas inside, including branding and softer lighting.
The food hall's bar, the Mayhaw, is now known as Bar Politan. Its list of classic libations has been transformed to include more Magic City-inspired cocktails, such as the Miami Winter, a Martinez made with St. George Terroir gin, Cocchi Americano, falernum, Luxardo Bianco, and Douglas fir ($14); and Biscayne Boulevardier, made with 1792 bourbon, Peychaud’s aperitif, sweet vermouth, and the distilled Mexican spirt sotol ($16).
"We updated the beverage program as part of the evolution of our mission," says Sophie Burton, beverage director for Politan Group. "After almost two years, we wanted to step up even more to the Miami environment and embrace the artistic and more upscale elements of the community with more specialty items."
Also rolling out in tandem with the updates is a new online ordering system, which Donaldson says should be in full operation within the next couple of months.
According to the food hall entrepreneur, Politan Group plans to open locations in two other cities, but details are still under wraps.
Politan Row Miami. 140 NE 39th St., Miami; 786-542-8977; miami.politanrow.com. Sunday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.