Food News

Miami’s Culinary Nomads: Making It Big Without a Brick-and-Mortar Footprint

The spread of morsels churned out by 2 Korean Girls' ghost kitchens
The spread of morsels churned out by 2 Korean Girls' ghost kitchens Courtesy 2 Korean Girls
Sometimes it’s the smaller culinary outfits that carry the biggest flavor pizzazz.

And, in Miami, amid a landscape of majestic mansion-like restaurants with ocean views and corporate-backed mainstays in downtown skyscrapers, we also have quite the scene of intimate pop-ups, ghost kitchens, and stalls at local markets making a name for themselves despite a permanent address.

The throughline to success seems to be a pure passion for cooking, meticulous strategy in taking things one step at a time, and, yes, a desire to expand ultimately. Here’s a glimpse of three Miami culinary hustlers that we can all appreciate.
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Sisters Jennifer and Michele Kaminski are behind 2 Korean Girls.
2 Korean Girls photo

A Growing Ghost Kitchen

2 Korean Girls is the brainchild of sisters Jennifer and Michele Kaminski. Jennifer manages a digital marketing agency in Miami and Michele is a hospitality consultant in Chicago. The sisters operate 2 Korean Girls as a ghost kitchen and just completed an extensive pop-up in Miami Beach.

Bibimbap is at the core of its menu, a Korean rice dish with customized additions galore. Its bestseller is the O.B. ("original bibimbap"), layered with ribeye bulgogi, sesame spinach, marinated mung bean sprouts, sweet and sour radish, and more. The trademark of any bowl is a heart-shaped egg, adding more charm to the experience. There are snacks, too, like Korean fried chicken and Impossible meatballs glazed in a gochujang sauce.

The process of bringing 2 Korean Girls to life was meticulous and research-heavy, beginning in 2017 with developing the brand and monitoring data on the rise of ghost kitchens.

“Even those entrenched in the industry in 2017 didn’t really know what ghost kitchens were and what it meant,” Jennifer Kaminski tells New Times. “But we saw it as a cool way for us to be in the market. So, in December 2020, with the pandemic and an even bigger rise in ghost kitchens and their delivery platforms, we saw it as the best way to launch.”

2 Korean Girls started cooking up Korean morsels from a Coconut Grove ghost kitchen and have since shifted operations to spots in Edgewater, Brickell, and, new as of January, Fort Lauderdale. They also have a buzzworthy cotton candy machine installed at 1-800-LUCKY.

All ingredients are readied in prep kitchens in midtown Miami and North Miami Beach and then distributed to the ghost kitchens for final meal prep, where 2 Korean Girls has one to three chefs per location. In total, Jennifer Kaminski says, they serve upwards of 50 customers per day.

Amid an influx in business and growing pop-up events throughout the city, the sisters have their eyes on a brick and mortar. Jennifer Kaminski says, “it’s definitely something that is in our plans and something we’re actively working on. We want to find the right place, do it right, and have that full experience of 2 Korean Girls.”
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Educators by day, cinnamon bread makers by night (and weekend): Wicked Bread Co.'s Eddie and Betty Diaz
Wicked Bread Co. photo

A Home Recipe Goes to Market

What started as a meticulously perfected home recipe that won over family and friends at gatherings, Wicked Bread Co. has evolved from a side hustle to a booming business. It is still very much a “two-man show." Hollywood educators Eddie and Betty Diaz bake and sell the products, with credit to the couple’s 21- and 24-year-old daughters, who help wherever they can.

Wicked Bread opened its doors in February 2020. Shortly after that, COVID-19 shuttered the fledgling business and the entirety of Yellow Green Farmers Market. The couple pushed ahead through the pandemic, setting up an e-commerce site. They hand delivered their fluffy-meets-gooey goodness throughout South Florida and shipped to 16 states.

“Our timing was unfortunate – we launched just a couple weeks before the pandemic and were just starting to see some repeat customers,” says Eddie Diaz. “So, we had to shift gears, and we were literally on the streets while the market was closed, delivering our stuff. And, at times, we were the only people on the streets. But it kept us going – it kept us afloat.”

In April 2021, Yellow Green Farmers Market reopened to great success. The couple now sells between 400 to 500 loaves of bread per weekend. As the business has grown, so has its menu, with offerings like a “Swine in the Sweater” (a Cajun sausage wrapped in a pastry) and a newly unveiled “Black Magic” loaf that’s drizzled in chocolate, peanut butter, and crushed Oreos.

The couple is open to a larger footprint, with Eddie Diaz saying, “We are looking as we speak, and we have a lot more products to offer beyond, pardon the pun, our bread and butter. We aren’t in a rush and are looking for the perfect location.”
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Ted's Burgers are a smash (literally).
Ted's Burgers photo

From Pop-Up to Burger Bash

Don't underestimate the little guy. Among the heavyweight chefs converging on Miami for the 2021 South Beach Wine & Food Festival's prestigious Burger Bash, it was a South Florida-bred pop-up that took home the judge's choice prize.

That winner was Ted's Burgers, the brainchild of Hialeah native Teodoro "Ted" Armas. Perhaps you've seen Ted's pop-up tent in front of J. Wakefield Brewing in Wynwood on Sundays with Armas and a staff of three to four smashing burgers on an open grill and cooking them to a memorable sear.

Armas was a long-time chef with the 50 Eggs Hospitality Group – renowned for Chica, Yardbird, and others. He had a stint in Brevard County circa 2019 to care for an ailing loved one, where he also mapped out his burger concept. He eventually moved back to Miami, had his first official pop-up in November 2020, and hasn't looked back since.

"I took a leap of faith and turned a backyard dream into a reality," says Armas, who focuses on the concept full-time. "It really grew organically, by word of mouth, which has just been beautiful."

Armas says his team churns out upwards of 100 burgers per hour on busy weekends. He says one day that he and his wife made and sold 606 burgers that he said, with a laugh, "almost led to divorce."

Beyond his pop-ups – which have included endeavors as far away as Indiana – there are official plans to expand. Armas says a Ted's Burgers brick-and-mortar location is coming to Little River by October 2023. 
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Jesse Scott is a Fort Lauderdale-based contributor for Miami New Times covering culture, food, travel, and entertainment in South Florida and beyond. His work has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet, National Geographic, and his hometown newspaper, the Free Lance-Star, among others.

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