As a prelude to its annual event in May, the South Beach Wine and Food Festival (SOBEWFF) has announced a partnership with the Lincoln Road Business Improvement District (BID) in an effort to highlight small businesses affected by ongoing COVID-related restrictions. The monthly outdoor market series, a collaborative effort by BID board member Lyle Stern and SOBEWFF founder Lee Brian Schrager, is slated to launch on Sunday, January 24, although the date has not been confirmed. The market, which has not yet been named, will run each month leading up to the 2021 SOBEWFF, which has been pushed back from its traditional mid-February time slot to May 20-23, 2021.
As president of the Koniver Stern Group, the retail leasing and consulting company that operates properties on Lincoln Road, Stern said, he was eager to enlist Schrager's help to attract locals and visitors to Lincoln Road while also working to build momentum leading up to the gargantuan food festival.
According to Schrager, the market will offer a curated selection of up to 15 South Florida-based vendors offering prepared or pre-packed food and baked goods. While many vendors will return each week, expect to see newcomers added as the series progresses.
"We’re working to creating a robust and unique lineup each month — one that highlights the city’s best mom-and-pop businesses and focus on producing authentic and high-quality foods," Schrager tells New Times.
The market is the latest effort both groups have coordinated to help struggling businesses within the industry.
For Schrager, it's an extension of a successful bake sale he launched in March from his home. Every Sunday through June, the Coral Gables resident would provide contactless pickup of baked goods provided by local restaurants. The project raised over $2 million, which benefited the newly created SOBEWFF & FIU Chaplin School Hospitality Industry Relief Fund.
The Lincoln Road BID staged a number of socially distanced outdoor events this year; ongoing initiatives include the group's successful Workout in the Sky at the parking garage at the 1111 building; weekend pop-ups by the Salty and El Bagel food trucks; and a self-guided walking tour of Lincoln Road’s fauna and flora in collaboration with the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens.
"The idea is to bring the most [these businesses] to the most iconic street in Miami Beach to serve up their goods and connect them with new faces, all while shining a light on their business," Schrager sums up of the newest effort. "That’s really what will make this series unique."