Most Miamians grew up in places like Kendall, Hialeah, and Doral — far cries from the Blade Runner-esque cityscape of Brickell or the charming art deco of South Beach. Miami is more strip mall than strip club, and regardless of what Ultra Music Festival and III Points might lead one to believe, it’s also more salsa, jazz, and bachata than electronic.
The Doral Yard, which opened last October, gives its visitors a taste of the real Miami, albeit in far more stylish digs than your abuelo’s smoky dive bar. Situated on the stylish Downtown Doral strip, the Yard offers a variety of impressive, often Latin, music programming in its newest addition to the space, the Backyard. Debuting last week, the space boasts 15,000 square feet of bars, food trucks, seating, and perhaps most important, a brand-new stage.
“Live music is really the heartbeat of our space, and it’s what we want to provide to the local community,” says Della Heiman Goldkind, CEO of Yard Hospitality. “As we’re still grappling with the pandemic, and people are still emerging from not interacting, I find it so invigorating to see people coming together to experience the beauty and inspiration of live music.”
“I moved to Miami to open what I thought would be just a brick-and-mortar restaurant,” Heiman says. “When I got here, I had no idea what I was doing. I had no experience in the professional food world nor construction, and so I was in for a rude awakening.
"After about eight months of looking at leases and talking to landlords, I realized that a brick-and-mortar concept was very risky," she goes on. "I met a lot of entrepreneurs who were creative and wanted to launch businesses but who were also facing the same problems I was: that they didn’t have any space. At that time, Miami didn’t have any food halls or culinary incubators. I decided to just start one, the Wynwood Yard, which was like the scrappiest business of all time, built on vacant lots with food trucks, shipping containers. It was a total mess, but luckily the community welcomed us with open arms.”
When the Doral Yard first opened last year, its live-music setup was underwhelming, especially when compared to the scope of its Wynwood iteration. A makeshift stage was set up on Main Street in front of an indoor bar and food hall. Music seemed to come second to the business’ culinary offerings. Patrons of the Yard didn’t pay much mind to the performers as they chatted and noshed right in front of them.
There has been a noticeable shift with the opening of the Backyard, whose sound system and permanent stage make musical performances the focal point of the Yard once again.
There is still more to come for the Yard. This October, a year after the Doral Yard’s opening, a full-service restaurant called Barbakoa will open in the Backyard. Barbakoa comes from the mind of Eileen Andrade, who not only created the impressive Finka Table & Tap and Amelia’s 1931 but is also family to the brilliant minds that brought us Islas Canarias in Kendall. The opening of Barbakoa, along with a hefty Latin music program featuring artists like Leslie Cartaya and Yoli Mayor, makes the Doral Yard an authentic Miami nightlife staple.
“We’d like to attract a broader community that goes beyond just the people living in Doral,” Heiman says. “We also want to draw people from the rest of Miami who want to experience live music in a beautiful outdoor setting with great food, who don’t necessarily have a great place to do that right now.”
The Doral Yard. 8455 NW 53rd St., Doral; 305-744-5038; thedoralyard.com. Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday noon to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday noon to midnight.