A new initiative to support struggling Miami restaurants will offer one eatery the opportunity to operate rent-free for up to a year at the new open-air collaborative project Space Park in Little Haiti's Magic City Innovation District.
The initiative, "One Small Step," is part of a plan to address the impact of COVID on Miami restaurants. It's an especially exciting opportunity for Miami’s emerging restaurant concepts, which will find a supportive community in which to introduce their brand.
All restaurants operating within the Miami city limits are eligible to apply for a six-month contract to operate at Space Park rent-free. Applications are available on the Space Park website and will be accepted until March 12.
Space Park, located at 298 NE 61st St., came about as a new way to experience live music amid COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. A collaboration between the owners of the downtown nightclub Club Space and the mixology company Bar Lab, with support from Live Nation, the park aims to foster enriching experiences focusing on cuisine, mixology, live music, and fitness.
When the opportunity to lease a large patch of land arose, Bar Lab founders Elad Zvi and Gabe Orta partnered with Space founders David Sinopoli, Coloma Kaboomsky, and Davide Danese joined together to create Space Park. Once pandemic restrictions are eased, the open air venue — which officially opened on New Year's Eve — can accommodate up to 6,000 people.
"One Small Step" came about because the Space Park cofounders had fielded inquiries from a number of failing Miami establishments.
"It got to the point where we were being offered one or two deals a week. People were saying, 'Hey, come look at this restaurant, or come see this space.' And from there we decided the best move was to take our efforts outdoors and use Space Park not just as a space but an actual community park," Sinopoli says.
Once the application process ends, the group will select a single One Small Step grant recipient. Along with the rent-free temporary pop-up base, the opportunity will also include what Kaboomsky calls "an intimate marketing and business mentorship" from the businesses spearheading Space Park. Assistance will range from marketing and promotion to help from the Bar Lab team to create a beverage program.
"A lot of times, restaurants don't have that expertise to execute expert-level programming, marketing, or advertising," Kaboomsky explains. "As a restaurant serving at one of our music events, they'll have access to all the elements we employ to promote our events."
Moving forward, Space Park wants to offer a variety of outdoor activities and weekly programming, from free weekly yoga classes and live-music shows to pop-up events. When fully operational, the park will be open Thursday through Sunday, and vendors (including the One Small Step winner) will be on hand with food and beverage options for sale.
Sinopoli says supporting the community has always been at the forefront for him and his partners. They understand that independent restaurants and small businesses are the lifeblood of the local economy.
"We hope this is one small step — pun intended — to help someone in the community get back on its feet. As leaders in the Miami hospitality community, we feel the best way to bless the park is by paying it forward," he elaborates. "So many people have had a challenging year. We have a lot space here, and the opportunity to be compassionate human beings. We hope to use this space as a real incubator for people who need the extra support."
Space Park. 298 NE 61st St., Miami; spaceparkmiami.com.
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