Driving down SW 17th Avenue Wednesday, you couldn't help but notice
crowds gathering to christen the Miami Marlins' new stadium. Lingering
about their driveways with signs that read "15 dolares" were the first
local citizens to benefit from the taxpayer investment.
expecting this stadium to eventually revitalize the surrounding
neighborhood," Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria told reporters late last
Walking around the stadium Wednesday night, the operative term in that statement had to be "eventually." There were far more vacant storefronts than open businesses. Examples all over the country, however support Loria's claim.
"We know from experience the possibilities," said Ann Pendleton, vice president of marketing for Levy Restaurants, which manages the foods vendors at the new stadium and several others around the country, including the American Airlines Arena. "We are excited to work with the Marlins in bringing affordable, delicious food and a wealth of commerce to the area."
Some of the already delicious food outside the new stadium included Truckeria Rolling Tacos, Levy Restaurant's new food truck concept popularized in parts of California. "We've had this new food truck thing going for about a year," Pendleton continued. "We want to make food fun and try different ways of preparing and delivering it."
The key lime chicken tacos ($12 for 2) did a lot better than the Marlins, who despite high expectations lost their opening night bout to the St. Louis Cardinals. Win or lose, the droves of fans still have to eat. Yogurt soft serve franchise YoBlendz is looking to capitalize.
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"This is a great opportunity, not only for this particular franchise owner, but our entire franchise in getting its name out there," said Chad Boariu, director of marketing. "It's great to see people receptive to a healthy product and we use fresh fruit with over 40 different toppings to keep them coming back."
Despite a slow first night, Holiday Cafe bakery owner Daniel Artola is hoping his customers keep coming back.
"We are really hoping that the plaza becomes like a community center for everyone to come and hang out," Artola said about the west end of the stadium where Holiday Cafe is located.