In 2018, more than 3.8 million people visited the Time Out Market in Lisbon, which brought the area's top minds in fine dining together in a food hall concept. Now, the international media and entertainment brand behind it is bringing the concept stateside with the February opening of the Time Out Market Miami, the first of three Time Out Markets that will open in the U.S. in 2019.
"Miami represents everything about the Time Out brand," Didier Souillat, CEO of Time Out Market, told me during a recent interview done while he was surveying the progress at the hall, located in the heart of Miami Beach's art deco district. "It has a great food scene, a huge tourism market, a sense of culture and is a place where people have fun."
The location of the 17,500-square-foot food hall, at 1601 Drexel Ave. in the heart of Miami Beach, was a main draw for Souillat. "We wanted to find a spot where there was a mix of locals and tourists, because there is impact for both sides. The locals get an easy place to meet up with friends for a drink or dinner, and tourists will find the best of Miami's culinary scene all in one place."
Inside the Time Out Miami Market, visitors will find 17 mini-restaurants from some of the city's most established chefs and restaurateurs, including the godfather of "Floribbean" cuisine, James Beard Award-winner Norman Van Aken. Jeremy Ford, a winner of Bravo TV's "Top Chef" culinary competition, will open a Korean-themed restaurant. Chef Alberto Cabrera will offer his Cuban specialties, and Michael Beltran will dish out Spanish-style creations. Other concepts include a Peruvian restaurant by Sebastian Fernandez, a delicatessen by Matt Kusher and a charcuterie bar featuring cured meats by chefs Andres Barrientos and James Bowers. A full list of restaurants is available on the website.
Three bars staffed by some of Miami's best mixologists -- there had to be booze! -- will round out the hall's offerings.
The market will have 440 seats: 120 out on the patio and 320 inside, featuring communal tables. "It's a great draw for families and groups of friends. You can all eat something different and still sit together," said Souillat.
Time Out Market Miami will also have an art gallery space that will feature exhibitions from local artists and a demonstration kitchen that, according to Soulliat, will give up-and-coming chefs a place to show their stuff to a global market. "We have committed to doing cooking classes for local kids during the weekend as well as classes for adults," he said. "We will also ask our featured chefs to do demonstrations there so that guests can see them and they can continue building relationships within the community." A list of programming, classes and events will be made available on the website once the market opens.
Food hall concepts have popped up all over Florida, but the Time Out Markets are slightly different. Whereas most food halls focus on street-food dishes and food-truck-style dining with disposable servingware and flatware, Time Out Markets aim for the upscale and focus on fine dining. Souillat tells me that dishes will be served on ceramic plates, and guests will eat with metal flatware. "Miami has so many fantastic restaurants that culinary travelers might not have enough time or funds to visit each restaurant for a full meal," he explained.
Souillat said that Time Out Market Miami is an opportunity for visitors to taste the "who's who" of Miami's fine dining scene without having to commit to a potentially budget-busting meal. Of course, if guests love what they're eating, they can always make reservations at the chefs' full-service restaurants. "There is no other brand in the world doing what we are doing; that is, bringing James Beard Foundation Award winners and Michelin-starred chefs all together in multiple cities around the world," said Souillat. "We are democratizing fine dining and bringing the best of the city together. This is literally Miami on a plate."