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 An engineering feat transformed our island paradise, bridging the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay, just north of Bal Harbour. The inlet reshaped Miami Beach into the mesmerizing destination we know and love today, facilitating seamless maritime navigation and enhancing Miami Beach’s appeal.

The name “Baker’s Haulover” is shrouded in mystery.  Folklore suggests it is named after a man named Baker who crossed from the bay to the ocean and back at a point that was shallow enough to “haul over” his boat.

Carved in 1925, the inlet stands as the only passage between Government Cut and Port Everglades. This crucial waterway, notorious for its challenging conditions due to shoaling and strong currents, highlights the importance of adept seamanship and local knowledge for safe passage.

Beyond its role in maritime navigation, Haulover Cut has become a focal point for community and culture. The adjacent jetty offers a scenic vista, where visitors can marvel at the vastness of the Atlantic and observe the bustling activity of marine vessels. Beneath the waves, the Haulover Inlet sandbar emerges as a coveted spot, attracting both tourists and locals alike to anchor.

As we mark the anniversary of this landmark’s opening during April 1925, we celebrate the transformation it brought to Miami Beach, the adventurous spirit it embodies and cherish the rich heritage and allure of Haulover Cut, a testament to the island’s dynamic evolution and its connection to the seamanship.

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As we celebrate Earth Day and embrace the spirit of sustainability throughout April, it is important to cherish the profound impact of small, individual actions. In the U.S., food is the single most common material sent to landfills, comprising a substantial amount of municipal solid waste.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the total municipal solid waste landfilled in 2018 was alarmingly high, underscoring the urgency for sustainable solutions (“EPA Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: 2018 Fact Sheet”).

Compost for Life, a Miami-based compost community initiative, spearheaded by Francisco Torres, shares this sentiment. The initiative aims to unite residents of Miami Beach and beyond in a shared mission of living a life that supports efforts to maintain and enhance a healthy planet. Serving Miami-Dade County and Broward County, this innovative business simplifies nature’s way of recycling and offers one of the most powerful actions we can take to reduce trash in landfills, address climate change, and build healthy soil in an easy and accessible manner.

Participating residents simply deposit their food scraps in a Compost for Life pink bucket, and they handle all the rest. Every six (6) months, a portion of the collected decomposed food scraps and yard trimmings are returned as nutrient and carbon-rich soil to the community for individual use or for donation to local farmers and community gardens to improve soil quality, support plant growth, and build resilience in our local ecosystems.

Speaking at the 2024 Aspen Ideas Conference in March, Francisco emphasized the transformative potential of composting: “Food scraps should not be seen as waste; food scraps can transform and regenerate our planet’s soil.”

“At Compost for Life, we believe composting food scraps is one of the best things we can do for our planet,” says Francisco Torres. “Through our daily habits, we decide if we make food scraps waste or if we compost it by putting it in the pink. Our community impact, through composting, is directly linked to the volume; imagine how much change can be made if composting was a county-wide initiative,” explained Francisco. He further highlighted the astounding biodiversity fostered by composting: “In one handful of finished compost, there is an estimate of 50 billion microorganisms; there is more life in a handful than human beings on our planet.”

Additionally, Compost for Life has established partnerships with renowned establishments such as 1 Hotel, Miami Beach Convention Center, Milam’s Market, Julias & Henry, The Continuum, and The Frost Museum. These collaborations strengthen the initiative’s reach and impact in promoting sustainable practices. Glass for Life, the sister organization, repurposes old glass bottles into new materials, providing a sustainable solution that reduces waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

Currently, Compost for Life serves a diverse clientele, including residents, businesses, and commercial buildings committed to embracing eco-friendly practices. Join a community making a positive environmental impact that fosters a sustainable future for our community and beyond by visiting the Compost For Life website. 

 

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‘Be kind to your mind’ is the mantra this April. Earth Month is the annual celebration of the multifaceted power of sustainability and environmentally conscious living in  our community. Nestled amidst the rambunctious and spirited energy of Collins Avenue, Blue Lavender Café & Market embraces this intonation and offers a nook of peace and serenity serving sustainably sourced food and products produced to limit negative impact on our health, environment, and future. The curated menu, décor, and ambience deviate from what most envision about Miami Beach.

Owners, Veronica and Juan D’Onofrio, are a married couple with deep roots in the city, which led to the creation of this recently launched business concept in January 2024. The D’Onofrios have owned and managed the adjacent hotel, Nassau Suites, since immigrating from Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2002. After raising kids and navigating the business landscape in Miami, the couple took a leap of faith, while redeveloping Nassau Suites, and transformed a parking garage into an inviting and open café.

Juan, an accomplished Miami Beach hotelier, humbly expressed how the couple diligently and intentionally visualized the Blue Lavender space. “We are brewing healthy emotions”, is painted on the walls of the café, setting the tone of the ambience and café character. The menu features an array of healthy and tasty options, including a majority of gluten free selections. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Juan is passionate about promoting nutrition and conscious healthy eating and appreciation for wholesome and delicious food. The D’Onofrios are proud to serve the community, whether it is residents or locals stumbling upon the café during errands or a walk or run, visitors looking for a light bite and respite, or tourist seeking something special that fits their dietary restrictions.

“The next generation is very health conscious, as are families”, Juan said. “Our kids eat everything on our menu; they could not tell the difference between a regular pasta and gluten free or vegan pasta. They just like yummy food.” We are ‘Happytarians’ – people who embrace healthy living, thinking and eating and appreciate and advocate for clean food for our  family, neighbors and community – which no doubt inspires the Blue Lavender’s  mission, vision and values.

Health and sustainability are inseparable. By providing a varied menu of healthy and clean culinary options, Blue Lavender offers a natural approach to nourish your mind and body without giving up taste. Specialty items include sugar free cookies with monk fruit. Popular all-day items include cold pressed juices, pastries, and scrumptious zucchini bread. Blue Lavender’s all day dining is robust with appetizing organic, natural and green choices, from proteins, salads, grains, teas, and spirited libations.

“The City of Miami Beach is thrilled to welcome and champion businesses with distinctive missions that distinguish them from the rest. Blue Lavender’s dedication to accommodating individuals with dietary restrictions is commendable. We take pride in being an inclusive city, offering something special for everyone,” says Rickelle Williams, Assistant City Manager.

The café brews healthy emotions with outdoor and indoor, seating that sets a light, airy and peaceful atmosphere that casts a warm and welcoming glow upon the curated space. In the heart café stands a living centerpiece, a striking tree with trunk, grounding the space and providing a visual ode to the ethos of sustainability. For delicious treats, nourishing food, and stellar service, visit Blue Lavender Café & Market located at 1414 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139 where they are keeping it healthy, tasty and simple.

"Celebrate" From Pitch to Global Stage: eMerge Americas' Black History Month Event

The Miami Beach Economic Development Team attended eMerge Americas' "Celebrate" event, a part of their DEI series commemorating Black History Month. Proudly sponsored by the City of Miami Beach, the event highlighted the city's commitment to fostering inclusivity and innovation in the tech sector.

The event featured pitches by five black-owned startups, showcasing their entrepreneurial spirit and innovative ideas. Among these presentations was the winning pitch by JEM, a revolutionary social app focused on enhancing community engagement. JEM, short for Join, Engage, Meet, offers users a platform to connect with like-minded individuals, organize events, and foster meaningful interactions.

Notably, the winning startup secured the last spot in eMerge Americas' Global Startup Accelerator + Showcase during the April conference, further propelling their journey to success. Miami Beach's support for events like eMerge Americas underscores its role as a supportive and inclusive tech hub, championing diversity and innovation in the industry. Stay tuned for more updates as Miami Beach continues to empower startups and drive technological advancement forward.

For more information, or to attend the next eMerge DEI series event, click here.

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Over one century ago, on March 26, 1915, Miami Beach was originally incorporated as a town with only 33 registered voters. The humble beginnings of one of America’s most popular cities included plans for mass coconut and fruit farming in the late 1880s and early 1900s. The landscape eventually proved unsuitable for this task, leading investors to envision Miami Beach as a place of unbridled potential for seaside resorts, casinos, and other tourist attractions.

In 1912, Ocean Beach Realty Company was established by the Lummus Brothers, Avery Smith, and others. Located on the northeast corner of Ocean Drive and Biscayne Street, the Company’s wood-frame office became the location of Miami Beach’s incorporation as a town, in response to requests from majority landowners to formally recognize the area.

Miami Beach quickly outgrew township status and was re-incorporated as a city in 1917, but the original incorporation marked the beginning of its transformation into the vibrant, lively community we know today.

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Four Countries & Twenty-Seven Years: Bella Cuba - Authentic Cuban Food for the Diverse Palate of Miami Beach.

This Women’s History Month, we highlight Larisa Jimenez, owner of Bella Cuba in South Beach, Miami Beach. Women’s History Month is an annual observance in March to recognize the accomplishments, contributions, and historical significance of women. This month-long celebration is an opportunity to highlight the achievements of women across various fields, from science and politics to arts and business, and to inspire future generations. Women’s History Month also encourages reflection on the progress made in gender equality while acknowledging the ongoing challenges women face worldwide.

 

Larisa Jimenez planned to be  a doctor. When she applied to the Ukrainian University of Zaporizhzhia, pre-med program, the university suggested that she study pharmaceuticals until a position opened. However, after a few chemistry classes, Larisa took some business classes, switched her major to business, and her life changed. In 1985, Larisa met Carlos Jimenez, in one of her classes and fell in love. They married, moved to Cuba, and became restauranteurs. The couple then traveled the world (first Dublin, Ireland, and then Paris, France) improved their culinary skills, and opened the first Bella Cuba in 1996.

 

 

In 2001, while on vacation in Miami Beach, Larisa became so enamored by the City’s diversity, culture, and weather, they moved Bella Cuba to Miami Beach in 2005. Though the community had its fair share of Cuban restaurants, Larisa knew Bella Cuba would be well received. Nineteen years later, Bella Cuba continues to be a resident and tourist favorite, in South Beach, and is thriving more than ever.

 

 

“We are a traditional Cuban restaurant in the heart of Miami Beach, and a pleased neighbor of the world-famous Lincoln Road and Miami Beach Convention Center” says Larisa. “We proudly create delicious innovative recipes, with vibrant fresh flavors, and offer an unforgettable, authentic Cuban gastronomic experience.” Bella Cuba is best known for delicious roasted pork and chicken and rice signature dishes, which include tomatoes, avocados, and herbs, all grown on the Jimenez farm, in Homestead, Florida.

 

 

Bella Cuba is quaint, authentic, and greets local, regional, national, and international guests with exceptional cultural décor, art, photos, fabrics, and style that compliments the multiethnic cuisine. Larisa shared that they are pleased with the number of first-time and returning international visitors from France, Germany, and Brazil. Bella Cuba’s global approach has garnered industry accolades as well, including first-place award for the Best Traditional Cuban Sandwich at the Calle 8 Festival Cuban Sandwich Smackdown.

 

 

“Everything about Bella Cuba is special! Customer service, cocktails, design, and the variety of Cuban offerings. “Our server was courteous and attentive; our food was delicious; and we will be going back,” shares a guest from Atlanta. “If you want authentic Cuban food, [Bella Cuba] is the place to be."

Larisa, together with Carlos and her family, remain committed to Miami Beach and providing extraordinary and memorable Cuban culinary dining experiences. Bella Cuba offers catering and delivery.

For additional information, visit https://www.bellacubamiamibeach.com/

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Aspen Ideas: Climate 2024 conference, hosted by the esteemed Aspen Institute, stands as a beacon of hope and innovation in the fight against climate change. For two decades, the conference serves as a gathering of   the most incisive, paradigm-shifting bits of insight, and having them presented by (and to) the most active, engaged thinkers in the world. Convened in the Miami Beach Convention Center, the conference showcased environmental solutions and ideas and reached new heights of influence and empowerment, attracting 200+ speakers.

In alignment with the city’s commitment to sustainability, the Miami Beach Economic Development and Environment and Sustainability Departments participated in the conference by activating a Miami Beach booth that served as a destination for businesses, entrepreneurs, and innovators with game-changing products, services and solutions. The city team distributed informational materials and engaged in collaborative discussions about the present day and future of climate change and steps.

A focal point of discussion was the City’s Fight the Flood Private Property Adaption Program, a proactive approach to address climate change challenges. The program offers up to $20,000 in matching funds to selected applicants, enabling them to assess their property flood risk and implement necessary improvements. Potential projects include permeable parameters, wet floodproofing, seawalls, and rain gardens.  The mission was to education the public on how vulnerable the city is with respect to climate change, and how to mitigate and preserve of our community.

From boutique storefronts to towering skyscrapers, every business is both a stakeholder and a potential agent of change in Miami Beach. Businesses and residents can get involved with the Aspen Institute through social media, social events, supporting their activities, and advocating their solutions. Aspen Ideas: Climate 2024 demonstrated how easy it is to get involved with policy makers, community organizations and businesses to amplify the collective voices of the community. Whether through grassroots activism, or strategic partnerships, the power to drive systemic change and inspire others is simple.

Aspen Ideas Climate: 2024 motto is “when people and ideas meet in the right atmosphere, something magical happens. At Aspen Ideas, we cultivate that magic”. As Aspen Ideas continues to lead by example in the realm of sustainability and climate resilience. As we celebrate their progress, we remain steadfast in our commitment to creating a resilient and vibrant community for generations to come with the help of qualified leaders willing to take on a developing challenge.

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In the heart of Miami Beach, where the iconic bridge proudly boasts the “Welcome to Miami Beach” sign, lies a historical connection to the city’s roots – Julia Tuttle, fondly known as the “Mother of Miami.” Beyond the familiar landmark, Tuttle’s tale stands as a testament to resilience, entrepreneurship, and the transformative power of women in shaping the vibrant tapestry of our local community.

Following the passing of her father, Julia DeForest Tuttle embarked on a remarkable journey from Cleveland, Ohio to Fort Dallas, Florida in 1891. Accompanied by her two children, the 42-year-old widow leveraged the land inherited from her father and her late husband’s resources to acquire 640 acres in the region that would become Miami, setting the stage for a visionary undertaking.

Undeterred by the challenges of the tropical terrain, Tuttle exhibited a pioneering spirit, establishing the area’s first bakery, dairy, and laundry. Recognizing the untapped business potential, Tuttle persisted in her efforts to attract developers and visionaries to join her in building the foundation of a thriving Miami. In a letter to a friend, she wrote, “it may seem strange to you, but it is the dream of my life to see this wilderness turned into a prosperous country.”

Tuttle’s tenacity bore fruit in 1894 when a devastating freeze crippled crops across Florida, sparing only those in Miami. Seizing this opportunity, Tuttle sent fragrant orange blossoms to the influential industrialist and railway tycoon, Henry Flagler. Through her persuasive efforts, Flagler was convinced to extend his railroad to Biscayne Bay in exchange for a portion of Tuttle’s property.

By 1896 the inaugural trains arrived; paving the way for the city’s incorporation and solidifying Julia Tuttle’s place in history as the sole woman to have founded a major U.S. city. Her visionary spirit and unwavering determination continue to resonate in the very fabric of Miami Beach, serving as an inspiration to local businesses and entrepreneurs.

As we celebrate Women’s Month, let us not only acknowledge the profound impact of Julia Tuttle but also draw inspiration from her legacy to foster innovation, collaboration, and the relentless pursuit of turning dreams into reality within our beloved Miami Beach community.

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Vida & Estilo Restaurant Group | V&E Hospitality Group (V&E), which translates to Life and Style in Spanish, is a culinary industry pioneer behind some of the most recognizable and finest restaurant concepts. The brand exudes lifestyle concepts that blend gastronomy, mixology, entertainment and unique vibes into their locations.

V&E’s award-winning portfolio includes Cafe AmericanoPaperFish, BarseccoOh! MexicoLa Cerveceria de BarrioHavana 1957Cortadito Coffee HouseMarabú and Mercato Della Pescheria.  A second PaperFish recently opened on Espanola Way,  and the team revamped the iconic Ocean Drive News Cafe and Oh! Mexico Taco Shop. The July ED Business Newsletter spotlights Jamil Dib, co-founder and owner of V&E Restaurant Group.

  1. Please share the history of your restaurant concepts and what inspired you to open in Miami Beach?

Vida & Estilo opened its first restaurant in 1997. Our inspiration, for moving from Mexico to Miami Beach,  was about changing our lifestyle. We were spurred by the magic of Miami Beach and I am now proud to call the city my home.

  1. How would you describe the atmosphere and ambiance of your restaurant concepts?

Our concepts are about having a memorable experience. We curate our locations with absolute dedication to the theme and restaurant concept. The relaunched News Cafe, an operation in partnership with Goldman Properties, and dedicated a great amount of effort to recreating the essence and spirit, past, present and future, of Ocean Drive and South Beach.

  1.  Please share some of your popular culinary offerings, and what makes them stand out?

We are proud to highlight Cuban cuisine at Havana 1957, which was the second restaurant for Vida & Estilo.  We now have five Havana 1957 locations, the first opened over a decade ago on Española Way, and was recently included in the Best Cuban Foods in Miami listing, specifically highlighting our vaca frita (fried shredded beef). Havana 1957 is also known for our signature chicken, Pollo Havana, a family recipe, which is oven cooked for 3 1/2 hours and marinated for 72 hours. Additionally, our Japanese food lovers enjoy our signature sushi roll, the Acevichada, at PaperFish, which is wildly popular in Miami Beach and Miami.

  1. What unique ingredients or cooking techniques do you use in your dishes?

We use a Josper oven at Mercato Della Pescheria. It is a charcoal oven that allows us to combine tradition elements with modern and innovative cookery. We also enjoy cooking with seafood and fish, such as our celebrated branzino, and preparing savory meats with this coal grilling technique.

  1. How do you source your ingredients, and do you prioritize using locally sourced or organic products?

Our purchasing department is constantly improving our selection of quality products, produce and vendors. We strive  to source  local, where  possible, and keep a close eye on availability and value.  We purposely work to keep our food cost reasonable to preserve a menu that is cost-friendly to our clientele.

  1.  What kind of dining experience can customers expect when they come to your restaurants, and how do you ensure high-quality service?

Excellence and honesty are on the menu. Our food is what attracts patrons, and our customer service, reputation, cleanliness, safety, decor are the added essentials that complete the dining atmosphere. We pay close attention to the entire diner experience and make it memorable.

7. What steps do you take to accommodate dietary restrictions and personal preferences?

Being able to accommodate dietary restrictions and personal preferences, such as vegetarian and gluten free options, is key to our dining delivery and our customer service. For example, Cortadito Coffee House offers a variety of non-dairy options, such as  a café con leche with an assortment of milk choices, which has been widely indulged and appreciated by our patrons.

  1. What are your future plans and goals, and how do you plan to continue growing and evolving?

Adapting, transforming, and understanding the needs of our consumers and cultivating the next generation of patrons is our plat du jour.

We are working to understand and foster our younger culinary consumers, nurture our existing Miami Beach diners, making our restaurants “must experience” destinations, and continuing to grow our culinary offering in the ever expanding hospitality and gastronomy world.

For more information, please visit: https://www.verestaurants.com

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On July 16, 1987, the Miami Beach Theater of Performing Arts was renamed the Jackie Gleason Theater, in honor of the television star who boldly proclaimed at the end of all his shows that “Miami Beach audiences are the greatest in the world!”

Built in 1950 and initially known as The Miami Beach Municipal Auditorium, the auditorium was substantially renovated in the 1970s by renowned architect Morris Lapidus and renamed the Miami Beach Theater of Performing Arts. The venue played host to Jackie Gleason’s American Scene Magazine show (renamed The Jackie Gleason Show in 1966) after it moved to Miami Beach from New York in 1964. Gleason’s love of Miami Beach led to his viewers flocking to Miami Beach to experience what Gleason called the “sun and fun capital of world”.

From the theater’s inception in 1950 to the present, it has hosted historic and memorable song and dance performances, comedy, boxing matches, pageants and iconic entertainment including, but not limited to, The Ed Sullivan Show, dazzling musical performances from stars like Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra to classical musicians like Yitzhak Perlman and Vladimir Horowitz, bringing 73 years of audiences, tourists and visitors to the Miami Beach business community.