Mr. Bing, the popular Miami food truck selling shaved ice cream, has opened its first standalone shop.
Toward the back of the Sterling Building on Lincoln Road in South Beach, Mr. Bing is the first tenant of Sterling Market, a food hall slated to open in the former Design Within Reach furniture store space, next door to Books & Books.
"The food hall is still in the very early planning stages," says Mr. Bing's owner, Ryan Barouh, who is also a partner in Sterling Market. "We're using Mr. Bing to anchor the project, and later on we'll move into something more permanent within the hall."
Mr. Bing specializes in what Barouh calls “shaved ice cream”: paper-thin ribbons of sweetened frozen cream shaved off a huge cylindrical block at superhigh speeds. Customers often describe its consistency as frozen cotton candy and compare its appearance to a carnation flower.
Within Sterling Market, Mr. Bing's shop is similar to the inside of its food truck kitchen, showing customers just how the Taiwanese-inspired dessert is created. The menu also mirrors the one in the truck, offering flavors such as coconut and green tea — an homage to the treat's Asian roots — along with chocolate and original sweet milk. In the near future, Barouh plans to launch a popsicle line called Bing Pops. Eventually, he foresees Mr. Bing offering unique flavors available exclusively on the food truck or in the store.
When Sterling Market officially opens, which Barouh loosely estimates will be in a year or so, Mr. Bing will move into a permanent space just a few feet from where it now stands. In the meantime, Barouh, along with partners Sam Herzberg and Richard Do, are securing tenants for 18 spaces within the market.
"We're looking to add a smorgasbord of different food concepts," Barouh says. "The only theme is each business has to offer a visual experience — basically, things that are fit for Instagram or Snapchat. It can't just be an awesome taco that is dumped into a wrapper."
He and his partners envision Sterling Market as a way to "bring back Lincoln Road."
"It's not just about creating a food hall," Barouh says. "It's about giving innovative local entrepreneurs a chance to thrive. We want to create a great platform for them to succeed."
Sterling Market is the third food hall slated to open in South Beach. The Lincoln Eatery is scheduled to debut in the fall of 2018. It will be followed by a Time Out Market, a concept modeled after the Lisbon flagship, which will be located on the ground floor of a parking garage.
Five other food halls are expected to open in the next year on mainland Miami: the Wynwood Food Hall, La Centrale in Brickell City Centre, New Orleans' St. Roch Market in the Design District, CentralFare in BrightLine's Miami Central Station, and the Citadel on the edge of Little River.
Barouh is confident Sterling Market will stand out. "This is all about experience," he says. "It's a place that will go beyond just offering good food."
Besides opening the food hall, Barouh plans to expand to West Palm Beach this year and is on the lookout for other potential storefront locations in South Florida.
Mr. Bing. Lincoln Road Mall, 927 Lincoln Rd., #112, Miami Beach; 888-606-2464; mrbing.com. Monday through Sunday 1 to 10 p.m. The Mr. Bing food truck is still parked at the Wynwood Yard, 56 NW 29th St., Miami. Monday 6 to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday 4 to 10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 2 to 10 p.m.