Chefs

Culinary Incubator Pops Up at Wynwood Yard

Miami's first culinary incubator, along with a host of dining and drinking options, will open this fall at the Wynwood Yard.

This "pop-up community gathering space" will operate at 70 NE 29th St. and feature everything from gardening classes and eateries to a place where up-and-coming entrepreneurs can have a space to cultivate their fledgling businesses. The pop-up will soft-open in October, have a grand opening in November, and run through July 2016. 

The Wynwood Yard is the concept of Della Heiman, who's seeking proposals from entrepreneurs in the culinary, culture, fitness, arts, and design fields. "We’re building a collaborative ecosystem where entrepreneurs can rapidly test, iterate, and incubate ideas on a daily basis," Heiman explains. "Startups will continuously hone their product based on real-time customer feedback, resulting in surprising new experiences for guests each time they visit the Wynwood Yard.

"This is the kind of space where you can engage in activities all day — from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. You can arrive in the morning for a sunrise yoga class and then work on the Wi-Fi network with your laptop and have a cup of coffee. Meet with local entrepreneurs for lunch in the afternoon or maybe take an urban gardening class; then sip on Lemon City Tea at teatime. In the evening, gather your friends and savor food and wine on a picnic blanket under the stars while enjoying live music or a speaker series.” Interested entrepreneurs can submit a proposal via thewynwoodyard.com.

So far, the idea is that the Wynwood Yard will comprise four pop-up culinary projects and a bar, along with LivBox, a stylish container home prototype by design startup WynBox. The LivBox can also be rented out for dinner parties. Local artists and designers will work at communal tables under awnings.

Two dining options have been confirmed, with the second two and possibly the bar option, coming from the proposals. The goal is that these food trucks would cycle into the program for a few months while being mentored by a think tank of Harvard Business School graduates and other professionals who will guide the food truck owners toward opening brick-and-mortar restaurants or expanding their businesses in other arenas. At the end of each cycle, the participating entrepreneurs will have a chance to pitch their concept to a gathering of investors, realtors, and business owners.Then other food trucks would then join the program. Additional benefits to the food truck entrepreneurs include electricity, water, bathrooms, and a semipermanent place to park their trucks. 

The Della Test Kitchen food truck features a menu of plant-based lunch and dinner bowls, such as the Southwest bowl, made with brown rice, quinoa, greens, tofu, sweet potatoes, avocado, and romesco sauce. Menu options also include sides, smoothies, juices, and desserts like a vegan banana split with frozen bananas topped with shredded coconut flakes and almond butter sauce. Chef Jeffrey Brana, who made a name for himself at Norman's Restaurant and Restaurant Brana, will return to the Miami scene as director of culinary operations of the Della Test Kitchen.

Myumi will also park its omakase food truck at the Wynwood Yard, where it will offer composed sushi meals. Owner Jake Smith says, “Myumi has experienced a great welcome from Miami, and we’re excited to go into the next phase of our business at the Wynwood Yard. This is exactly the kind of cool, collaborative environment food startups like us are looking for in Miami.”

The Wynwood Yard will also offer ongoing activities open to the public, such as gardening seminars, morning yoga classes, live music, and other community events.
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss