At The Doral Yard in Doral, Fla., you can take a yoga class, buy an Instagram-friendly churro dessert from a mini indoor/outdoor food hall and stay a while for a beer and live music, all within the same 20,000-square-foot venue.
Della Heiman Goldkind — the brains and CEO behind the concept, which is part food hall, part business incubator and part community gathering place — did not begin her career in foodservice. Most of her family is in the textiles business, and she started going down that path as well, until she traveled abroad and became exposed to new culinary traditions. Then she decided that making healthy food accessible was her passion. Goldkind’s first concept, Della Bowls, was a plant-based restaurant that she wanted to grow out of Miami.
“But when I got to Miami, I could not find the right physical space,” she said. “The real estate barriers to entry were just too high. … In this industry, a lot of times you end up sinking a lot of capital into one physical location. And if it doesn't work out, you lose the majority of your investment.”
That’s when she had the lightbulb moment of starting a business incubator to boost other small entrepreneurs such as herself. From there, she opened Miami’s first culinary incubator, Wynwood Yard, which included several up-and-coming concepts, including her own Della Test Kitchen. After Wynwood Yard closed in 2019, Goldkind began working on bringing The Doral Yard to life, in partnership with real estate investor Joseph Furst.
In 2020 — after a seven-month delay due to COVID-19 — she opened the first section of The Doral Yard called The Hub: a 6,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor space with an indoor food hall and outdoor seating that spills out onto Main Street. Main Street became an activated street closure featuring 25-30 businesses with outdoor seating and retail, which Goldkind helped curate. The Hub also has a live music program, creating a lively community space that became a safe outdoor haven during the pandemic.
The other sections of The Doral Yard include the backyard, which opened in September with a live music stage, astroturf for people to lounge, a full bar and Santo Dulce, the halo-shaped churros and ice cream vendor. Soon, The Doral Yard will also be opening its first full-service restaurant: Latin-Asian fusion restaurant Barbakoa by Finka, from chef Eileen Andrade, along with a quick-service poke concept, Pokekai, in 2022.
Unlike most food halls, The Doral Yard is not meant to have a rotating roster of tenants that swap out every 3-6 months, Goldkind said. In fact, they’ve been working with most of their current vendors since 2018 or 2019, when The Doral Yard was a seed of an idea. But she is open to expanding in the future and is careful to look for food brands that aren’t just concepts one could find at most food halls.
“We’re looking for something special and curated that people will go out of their way to experience,” Goldkind said.
But the final secret ingredient to finding the perfect melting pot of entrepreneurs comes down to professional synergy.
“We're looking for people who really want to be part of a broader community,” she said. “Being part of our business isn't like just being running your own standalone restaurant, but that you actually have to make decisions in a really collaborative way and work together with others so we can all get better together.”
Unlike Wynwood Yard, which was more of a collection of mobile kitchens/food trucks that “could just drive away” if things weren’t working, Goldkind said, Doral Yard is a more permanent space. Also, in this economy, it can often be challenging for budding foodservice businesses to afford to invest in a brick-and-mortar space. Being part of a shared space can help distribute costs and business risks to a group of people.
Part of the success of Doral Yard isn’t just that it’s a food hall, of which there are plenty in the Miami area. Goldkind describes it as a “culturally dynamic and diverse space” with a place for live music, culinary events, flamenco classes and private events like weddings.
“We're just constantly trying to keep the space really innovative, fresh and exciting,” she said. “And to bring really inspiring people into the framework of what we're building, because ultimately, that's the magic of our space. What we do is all about community and being with the right collaborators.”
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