Romina Orozco-Encio has been linked to Miami Beach for over 30 years and is the current business owner of Abbott Florist on Normandy Isle. Abbott Florist started in 1990 when Romina and her family came to Miami Beach from Argentina where her father had previously owned and operated a flower shop. Naturally, his first inclination was to open one of his own in the United States. After some time, the business was then handed down to Romina where she continued to operate it as a family-owned business.

As with any business that has been open for an extended period, Abbott Florist has endured and survived tremendous hardship. Abbott Florist has survived the recession post-dot com bubble, the 2008 Great Recession, and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic. As with many other businesses, Abbott Florist was closed for 5 months during the pandemic and times were looking grim. Unable to generate any sales, they were beginning to have trouble making the rent for the shop and were also unable to purchase any additional inventory since flower suppliers were also closed across the world.

But, as with any times of hardship in life, there are opportunities to give back. At the height of the pandemic, Miami Beach Commissioner David Richardson, hosted food drives for the residents of Miami Beach that were struggling to make ends. At those food drives, came the opportunity. Romina had been walking by the food drives and had inquired on how she would be able to assist with the effort. She was told that there was a flower supplier that was looking to get rid of their inventory. Romina contacted the supplier and was able to secure those flowers and used them to provide decorations for the long lines and people at the food drive. Such was the impact felt by the community that 2 years later, people still show up to Romina’s store and thank her for decorating the line with flowers and giving them at least a moment of happiness during those dark times. By giving back to the community, people still go and buy from her shop which in turn helps her business.

During this time of recovery, Romina was able to find assistance with the help of the City of Miami Beach and from Prospera. The City of Miami Beach Economic Development Department offered Miami Beach businesses a Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus or CDBG-CV grant that was designed to assist small businesses that had to shut down or were impacted due to the pandemic. Romina was able to apply for this grant and was awarded $20,000 of CDBG-CV funds that were used to catch up with rent and to purchase additional inventory now that her business was back up and running.

Through the Miami Beach Business Academy, Romina also received technical assistance help from Prospera free-of-charge. Prospera is a not-for-profit organization focused on providing technical assistance to underserved entrepreneurs so they can better achieve their business goals. Romina attended one of the monthly webinars on capacity building, and in-person training sessions held over 4 days by Prospera focused on teaching entrepreneurs how to apply technology to their businesses, the fundamentals of technology, digital marketing, and cyber security. By attending the training sessions, Romina also had the opportunity to network with other businesses, community partners, banks, and won a laptop computer for her business.

Through the assistance of community partners such as the City of Miami Beach and Prospera and Romina’s entrepreneurial fortitude, Abbott Florist remains open for the community of Miami Beach, providing joy and flowers for the foreseeable future.

Bistro 1

Miami Beach is a food and hospitality hub and Sandy Sanchez is an important ingredient in our culinary palate. Born in Hialeah, to Cuban parents Maribella and Rafael Sanchez, Sandy’s palate has always been infused with and influenced by Spanish, African and Caribbean spices, techniques and flavors. Sandy’s journey began in the 1950s, when her uncle, Frades Sanchez, migrated to the United States to play for the New York Yankees. After a career ending injury, Frades moved to Miami, and Sandy’s parents fleeing Cuba in 1960,  joined him and settled in Hialeah.  Maribella and Rafael, like many Cuban immigrants, were able to obtain factory jobs. Sandy remembers living in Hialeah across the street from the factory where her father worked and the sweet smells of her mom cooking in the kitchen. Mrs. Sanchez, an early entrepreneur, started cooking lunches for the factory workers and Sandy fondly recalls her home becoming a special place for workers, neighbors and the needy to come and enjoy homemade authentic Cuban food.

“I was inspired by my mom. She had an entrepreneurial spirit and shared her love of cooking with our community,” states Sandy. “My mom’s kitchen became a welcoming destination to gather, share, love, laugh and enjoy the best food in the neighborhood.”

Though Sandy moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, it was meeting the love of her life, husband Chef Benoit “Ben” Rablat, that is her warmest memory of her brief stay in California. They met in the Silverlake neighborhood, and it is there that they learned the joys of food and wine and fell in love with hosted dinner parties for our friends. It was also where the seed to one day opening a restaurant was planted.

Sandy and Ben’s first restaurant, La Fresa Francesa, a highly popular French eatery in Hialeah, is an intimate French bistro with a bohemian vibe. Following seven successful years as restauranteurs, the gastronomic risk takers sought to expand to Miami Beach….and Silverlake, a loving celebration of their affection for each other and food, was born in North Beach.

“The opening of Silverlake was a gamechanger for us and North Beach. We introduced a hot new restaurant with a warm and refreshing neighborhood aesthetic and North Beach gained a walkable family-friendly bistro. The combination of Ben’s delicious food and Sandy’s style and personality made Silverlake destination dining!” states David Sexton, president of the Normandy Fountain Business Association.

Sandy has poured her heart and soul into every detail of Silverlake, from music, artistic wallpaper, fun trinkets, and warm greetings for every customer. “We want to keep the place as humble as possible. I want it to feel like you are eating in my mom’s home or eating in your grandma’s home,” said Sandy, “There are no magical recipes, just the right combination of spices, love, warmth, culture and hard work.”

Favorites include Ben’s mom’s original French recipe for blue cheese,  white wine, shallots and scallions mussels and the Silverlake burger, a double patty topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, steak sauce and aioli. Silverlake Bistro is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday and brunch on Sunday. For more information, you can find them on Facebook at Happy National Hispanic Heritage Month!


This August we spotlight Benefits Design Resources (“BDR”), a Black-owned independent insurance agency. Bill Warren, founder and owner, formed the agency to provide peace of mind and financial security in South Florida. Bill, who is originally from Virginia, has resided in South Florida for over 35 years after serving in numerous executive roles throughout his career.

Bill is a graduate of Virginia State University – Bachelor of Art (BA) and the University of Miami – Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), and is a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS). With an impressive education and corporate career with several notable insurance companies including, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida and Humana, it was a role with Travelers that brought Bill to Miami and eventually Miami Beach.

Bill boldly opened BDR, located at 407 Lincoln Road, in 2005. His vision was to create a Miami Beach-based insurance company specializing in the sales and management of health care, life and disability insurance products for businesses and individuals.

After 17 years in Miami Beach, BDR continues to focus on employee benefits and cater to small and medium-size businesses. The firm assists businesses with the marketing, operations, and management of employee benefits (such as health, dental, vison, life insurance and supplemental plans) and finds the best solution to meet business needs. Bill’s philosophy is to maintain quality employees, especially in a post-pandemic environment where employers have to adjust their benefits priorities to retain and attract top-tier talent.  “My niche is to find the best employee benefits insurance solution for my clients by identifying the right balance from a cost/benefit perspective, “states Bill.

The global pandemic challenged and tested all small businesses, including BDR. Though Bill is thankful BDR survived and continues to provide employee benefits to assist clients struggling to motivate remote employees…it was not easy. Attracting new clients was BDR’s biggest hurdle, but fortunately Bill’s years of actively participating in the Miami Beach residential, social and business networks served to sustain the Black-owned small business.

An active member of the Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce, Bill is confident that his community engagement and local clients are a major element to BDR’s success. He is grateful that he can return to face-to-face meetings and in-person networking events, and continue to advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion in the South Florida business community.

A consummate volunteer, Bill supports numerous local not-for-profit organizations, is active with the Unity on the Bay nondenominational church and is a Miami Beach Democratic Club board member. Bill enjoys Miami Beach’s vibrant culture and energetic and diverse lifestyle that continues to welcome and challenge him to embrace change and innovation. A passionate supporter of sustainability and the environment, Bill barely uses his 3-year-old car and has only driven 6,000 miles with it. Bill prefers the ease of the Miami Beach trolley and using Citi Bike to explore the city including Flamingo Park,  where he enjoys all the facilities and activities to round out his work life.

Bill’s message to other Black-owned businesses, this National Black Business Month, is to (1) embrace the unknown, (2) seek out a community where you are a part of a positive movement, and (3) make connections, a difference, and have fun. Success will follow.


The creation of James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz, Harry’s Pizzeria marks a return of the nationally recognized chef to the Miami Beach culinary community with his South Beach eatery in the heart of the Civic Center and Lincoln Road neighborhood. Schwartz dishes on his Miami Beach venture below:

Q: Why did you choose Miami Beach to open a pizzeria?

Schwartz: Thirty years ago, I made Miami Beach my home, so I have always had a soft spot for Miami Beach. As I watch Miami Beach grow and evolve as a youthful, vibrant and engaging community, it was only natural that I open a pizzeria in my backyard.

Q: What is your signature or most popular dish?

Schwartz: Pizza, of course! Though Harry’s Pizzeria has an expansive menu, including chicken wings, salads, mozzarella sticks and desserts, pizza is what we do best. Two favorite pizzas are the Short Rib pizza, which dates to the original Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink restaurant in 2007, and our Black Truffle pizza, which is a beautiful assortment of truffles and gooey fontina and taleggio cheese action going on.

Q: What do you want Miami Beach residents and visitors to know about Harry’s Pizzeria?

Schwartz: Harry’s Pizzeria is a quintessential neighborhood staple. We love being a meaningful member of the Miami Beach business community and providing great food, beverages, memories and more.

The City of Miami Beach Business Newsletter has a new look! After a comprehensive marketing and media analysis to attract local, regional, and national businesses, we are proud to unveil Make a Bold Move. The campaign focuses on marketing Miami Beach to companies of all sizes as a top destination that caters to the evolving lifestyle expectations of employees and employers who are in search of a better life-work balance.


Our new masthead is the first step of an ambitious Make A Bold Move campaign. The city’s Economic Development Department webpage,, will reflect and embrace this new messaging and share regular insights into what Miami Beach is doing to attract businesses and higher-wage jobs through the city’s more flexible and balanced lifestyle.

The imagery and messaging behind Make a Bold Move will strive to influence businesses with aspirational and memorable content that embeds Miami Beach as a best-in-class business destination. The campaign aims to entice more business expansions to our shores and strengthen the overall Miami Beach portfolio of incentive programs, which continue to create, promote and nurture business opportunities.


Make a Bold Move amplifies the nationwide trend of companies relocating and expanding to more livable cities as the appeal of alternative work options and telecommuting continues to redefine the workplace. Flexible options have proven to be effective in attracting talent and business leaders as the world recovers from the impact of the global pandemic. Make a Bold Move leverages this mindset and promotes the new professional workplace landscape to build a more diverse economy and highlight Miami Beach’s many amenities, potential investments and opportunities. Our primary target audience is made up of founders, owners and C-suite decision makers in the technology and financial services industries. These firms have been generally located in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Connecticut in the past. The secondary target audience is made up of professional services firms and the hospitality, tourism, film and entertainment industries. Make a Bold Move emphasizes that opening or relocating to Miami Beach may seem like a daring move, but it also makes business and financial sense based on our incentives and tax structure.


Make A Bold Move is grounded in the fact that the work culture has changed. The ability to live a full life outside of work is becoming the norm, and companies that do not adapt will be left behind. The campaign encourages stepping away from the computer to inspire productivity and innovation. A place where work-life balance is non-negotiable. A city where you can catch a sunrise over white sand beaches by day, then is electric by night. It is not just a move – it is a solution. Miami Beach offers the perfect work-life balance, with excitement and experiences around every corner….it is time to Make a Bold Move…..for Better Opportunities……Better Lifestyle…..Better Inspiration…..Better Everything… Miami Beach.


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Every Lincoln Road business owner knows Timothy Schmand as the man in a stylish fedora who is always willing to assist. Many, however, do not know the many other hats that Tim has worn throughout his career. Originally from Buffalo, NY, he loves to tell the story about his arrival to Miami Beach. In 1979, he hitchhiked from Buffalo to Key West and then to Miami Beach, which was a quiet little town. His first job in South Florida was training mentally disabled adults in janitorial skills near the Miami train yards (in what is now Wynwood). At the time, the circus would base camp near the train yards, but the performances were in the Miami Beach Convention Center. He fondly remembers watching the iconic walking of the elephants across the Venetian Causeway, an unforgettable sight.

After some time, Tim put on another hat as part-time security guard at the Historical Museum of South Florida, where after two years he was promoted to Associate Director of Marketing, Publications and Communications, and served as Manager of the museum store. Also an aspiring writer, Tim pursued and obtained a Master of Fine Arts. This academic achievement led him to his next chapter as a grant writer for the Science Museum (now the  Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science), Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, and Bayfront Park Management Trust.

While working on a Shakespeare Festival grant for the Bayfront Park Management Trust, Tim was asked to assist with the operation of the Shakespeare Festival. This new hat led to a 25 year career as executive director of the Bayfront Park Management Trust, where Tim managed all aspects of Bayfront and Museum Parks. Under Tim’s leadership, the parks achieved $7.5 million in net revenue between 2003 and 2016 and attracted 8.5 million attendees to concerts, special events and community activations. One of his major accomplishments is the 2008 Ultra Music Festival in Bayfront Park that garnered numerous accolades, including inclusion in the Rolling Stone magazine Top 10 Concerts of the 20th Century in the United States—an honor shared  with Woodstock Music and Art Fair (1969) and Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, although he had been thinking about retiring, Tim picked up his hat in 2017 and joined the Coconut Grove Business Improvement District as Interim Executive Director, where he lent his expertise and knowledge to the transformation of the business corridor.

Tim attributes his interest in urban placemaking and vast knowledge of energizing outdoor spaces to, “The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces”, a book by William H. Whyte. Tim credits the Whyte book, which launched a mini-revolution in the urban planning and design of public spaces, to guiding and transforming his views and management acumen on how public spaces contribute to the wellness of a community.


In 2017, Tim upgraded his hat to serve as the executive director for the Lincoln Road Business Improvement District.

“I bought my first gift for the love of my life on Lincoln Road,” shared Tim. “We bought our wedding rings on Lincoln Road, before we were married in old City Hall. Lincoln Road will always hold a special place in my heart.”


With his hat and heart in hand, Tim has led the mini economic revolution of Lincoln Road in his 5-year tenure. He has nurtured and built an internationally known destination robust with art and culture, world-class cuisine and retail, and family friendly programming. During the pandemic, Lincoln Road was severely impacted, like every global business district. Yet Tim embraced the challenge and his cultural experience to exhibit 13 monumental Botero sculptures on the pedestrian promenade from fall 2019 through spring 2020 — encouraging residents and visitors to enjoy Lincoln Road’s open space and engage with merchants offering take-out and socially distanced artistic entertainment.

When asked about  his legacy, the soft spoken, charming, stylish and affable Tim shared that he wants to be remembered for being an urban and open space champion who dedicated his professional life to assisting merchants and evolving spaces from simple urban placemaking into memorable and near perfect commercial and outdoor spaces. Likewise, he hopes his influence has  inspired  residents, businesses and tourists.

“I am pleased and proud that Lincoln Road has emerged as an inviting urban public space with sun, shade, food, trees, fountains, entertainment and people,” said Tim. “As Whyte wrote 30 years ago, public spaces bring people together and Lincoln Road serves as an excellent sustainable example that continues to thrive. I am proud that, during the recent pandemic, the Lincoln Road leaders, members, team, and community opened and curated spaces that changed lives by uniting, engaging, and healing this community.  Lincoln Road is special – it is where two strangers can meet and have a conversation, a couple can leisurely stroll, teens can enjoy a pizza, colleagues can have a cafecito, and everyone can partake in retail therapy.”

A graduate of State University College of New York, Tim also holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Vermont College. Tim plans to add to his collection of books he has authored and  published – “Just Johnson; The London Delivery,” and “The True Tales of Bad Benny Taggart.”

Hats off to Tim for everything he has done for the City of Miami Beach and Lincoln Road. His contributions and accomplishments are celebrated and we wish him well in his next chapter!


The City of Miami Beach Economic Development Department kicked off International Economic Development Week (May 9-13) with the unveiling of the Miami Beach Business Academy, a program designed to provide business assistance to new, aspiring and seasoned entrepreneurs.

The purpose of the program is to equip new businesses with the tools to succeed during the early stages of development and strengthen the operations of more established businesses through a combination of online instruction, one-on-one counseling, peer support groups, mentoring, thought leadership and other techniques. The program is funded through the Community Development Block Grant — Coronavirus.

In October 2020, the Miami Beach City Commission approved a resolution providing $600,000 to fund small business grants via the Community Development Block Grant — Coronavirus. Throughout the process of administering the Emergency Small Business Reimbursement Grant program, the Economic Development Department encountered numerous small businesses and microenterprises in need of training and technical assistance resources.

The Miami Beach Business Academy program is offered in partnership with South Florida not-for-profit Prospera, which specializes in bilingual assistance for entrepreneurs and small businesses. The academy will offer in-person and virtual technical assistance training as well as free consulting to the city’s small business community.

Technical assistance services will be available to aspiring and established entrepreneurs from small businesses for up to eight months from now until December. The Prospera curriculum is designed to support at least 12 virtual training sessions, including topics on growth strategy analysis, best business practices, business continuity, access capital, digital presence and payroll management.

Six of the virtual training sessions will be conducted in English and six will be conducted in Spanish. The monthly programming schedule will be posted in the MBBiz electronic newsletter.

The Miami Beach Business Academy is an extension of the city’s efforts to assist the local business community as entrepreneurs and workers navigate life after the pandemic. Similarly, the City of Miami Beach Emergency Small Business Reimbursement Grant Program, supports and promotes business viability for eligible businesses, by providing up to $20,000 in expense reimbursement for expenses incurred, during the pandemic at their principal place of business.

The grant is administered and awarded on a first-come, first-qualified, first-served basis through an online application. Interested applicants should visit to review program guidelines and login or create a new profile to preview the application. The program will remain open until all funds are exhausted.

For additional information on the Miami Beach Business Academy, please contact Michael Rivera via email at or Alternatively, visit the website.


April is Tech Month in Miami Beach and this year’s festivities got underway with “Let’s Talk Crypto,” an engaging cryptocurrency thought leadership event that featured venture capitalist Jalak Jobanputra and Laura Shin, journalist, podcast host and author of the newly released “The Cryptopians — a story of the idealists, technologists, and opportunists fighting to bring cryptocurrency to the masses.”

In partnership with the Miami-Dade Beacon Council and Future\Perfect Ventures, the cryptocurrency chat was held on the eve of the Bitcoin 2022 conference. The sunset event included local, regional, and national Bitcoin enthusiasts, cryptocurrency influencers, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. It was a perfect opportunity to welcome our fintech visitors and invite them to get to know Miami Beach incentives, programs, policies, and people.


Billed as the world’s largest cryptocurrency conference, Bitcoin 2022 was held April 6-9, 2022, at the Miami Beach Convention Center campus. Bitcoin 2022 attracted more than 17,000 of the best and brightest fintech leaders and enthusiasts in the rapidly expanding cryptocurrency space. Bitcoin 2022 was welcomed to Miami Beach by Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber and Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez who participated in the unveiling of a 1000-pound charging bull sculpture as well as a creative and grand activation at Pride Park.


The Miami Beach exhibition booth promoted Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County business incentives for new and startup businesses interested in relocating or expanding their operations in Miami Beach. The Economic Development Department, together with the Miami-Dade County Beacon Council and the Greater Miami and Miami Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) met with more than 500 attendees from cities as close as Orlando and as far away as Australia. Attendees saw videos showcasing vibrant neighborhoods, commercial districts, art and culture, entertainment, office space and many more assets and amenities. The city shared helpful information, maps and special offers from trendy restaurants and retail shops. Participants took home small tokens of Miami Beach hospitality — sunglasses, flip-flops, beach balls/towels and even fresh, local coconuts. The conference brought three days of engaging networking!


Tech Month continued with the return of eMerge Americas 2022 conference at the Miami Beach Convention Center on April 18-19, 2022. The venture-backed platform focuses on transforming the Greater Miami and Miami Beach community into the tech hub of the Americas. The two-day global tech conference included a welcome by Mayors Levine Cava and Gelber, who highlighted available incentive programs to support new and existing Fintech startups and entrepreneurs. The city hosted a “Suits Optional” exhibition booth to connect with attendees and appeal to business owners, influencers and talent interested in making a bold and smart move to Miami Beach.

Jolie Glassman, owner and operator of South Beach Boxing, is on a mission to make people feel good about themselves. She preaches transformation, inspiration and fulfillment.

Throughout her life, Glassman has always been a fighter. Born in Beverly Hills as the youngest of three sisters, her father passed away when she was just 2. At age 7, the family moved to South Florida to be closer to her mother’s family. Glassman’s mother was extremely strict and worked long hours to support the family.

Glassman recalls being terrible in her physical education class when she was in elementary school. She remembers having to run a penalty lap around the track because she finished behind all of the other children. It was then that she promised herself she would never finish last again. By age 15, she had become a regular at the gym.

“You cannot have a strong mind and a strong life with a weak body,” Glassman shared, “In everything I did, I chased strength. I knew I wanted to be strong in all areas.”

This philosophy has guided Glassman throughout life. After graduating from Florida International University, she was accepted into a scholarship program — For Our Children in Urban Settings or F.O.C.U.S.  She taught at inner city schools, alternative educational units, detention centers and jails. She did not tolerate bullying but when her students fought, she would allow it only if she knew beforehand that no one would jump in.

So began Glassman’s mission in life to fight for the rights of children. She found the perfect avenue to help children and adults alike via boxing.

Jolie Glassman Signing

Jolie Glassman signing copies of her book, “Life According to the Rules of Boxing: 101 Rules to Being the Champion of Your Own Life”

In 1998, Glassman and her former husband founded Real Gyms for Real People. In 2001, as the company began to expand, Glassman left teaching and began spearheading the operations at the original South Florida Boxing, South Beach. After the couple divorced in 2010, Glassman retained sole ownership of South Florida Boxing and rebranded it South Beach Boxing. Many celebrities have visited the business over the years, including Muhammad Ali, Angelo Dundee, Evander Holyfield, Roy Jones Jr., Lennox Lewis, Chris Bosh, Will Smith and many others.

Glassman’s passion and commitment to youth exercise has influenced the Miami Beach community. In 2010, she established her own nonprofit called Jolie’s Kids. The mission of Jolie’s Kids is to create a safe place where children can build character, find strength and succeed through the discipline of boxing and fitness. Teens are encouraged to come to boxing classes after school as a safe place to exercise and get fit.

“When children are encouraged to fight in a controlled environment, they choose not to fight on the streets,” Glassman said. “Boxing and boxing workouts make kids strong, fit, confident, humble, disciplined, focused and so much more.”

South Beach Boxing is a full-service, family style, performance training gym providing hundreds of classes each month along with a complete gym. Glassman describes South Beach Boxing as a fighting fitness school, unlike any other fitness facility, because it offers an educational, individualized and personalized experience.

Recently, Glassman wrote a book titled: “Life According to the Rules of Boxing: 101 Rules to Being the Champion of Your Own Life” which offers a curriculum for life and discusses how to live your life like a boxer and be the champion fighter of your own life.

For more information, visit:

Fat Ronnie’s Burger Bar represents five generations of gastronomic burger making — from Harlem to Martha’s Vineyard and now Miami Beach. The 1233 Lincoln Rd. culinary gem is a family-owned small business, operated by resident Reynaldo “Ronnie” Faust who has been serving the Miami Beach community with delicious creations since March 2020.

The family burger business was created by Ronnie’s grandmother, Maxine. In addition to being the first Black female union butcher in the country, she established Maxine’s in 1972, a burger joint in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood. Though small in stature, Maxine was determined to succeed in the male-dominated butcher industry. From the 1950s to the early 2000s, Ronnie’s family-owned and operated top restaurants, bars and butcher shops in Harlem, include Maxine’s, Meat Masters, Twenty-Two West, Dolls Bar and Jewel’s Bar.

“From an early age, I worked with my family, in my grandmother’s restaurant and butcher shop, learning signature recipes and perfecting the craft of burger making,” Ronnie shared. “In 2013, I expanded the family burger business by opening my first burger conceptFat Ronnie’s Burger Bar in Martha’s Vineyard.”

Fat Ronnie’s Burger Bar mixed Maxine’s signature recipes with a modern day create-your-own burger concept and became — and continues to be — a local favorite and tourist destination hot spot in Martha’s Vineyard. The success of Fat Ronnie’s Burger Bar prompted Ronnie to explore a second location. After considering another New York City location, Ronnie decided on Miami Beach’s popular Lincoln Road, which has also been his winter home since 1989.

“Unfortunately, my grand opening was set for March 2020 — literally when Miami Beach restaurants and the world — were closing due to the pandemic,” Ronnie said. That was really a rough ride because we were new to the community, and nobody knew Fat Ronnie’s Burger Bar. But we persevered and respected our ancestor’s commitment to our heritage and culture, including my great grandfather, James, who was also a butcher, and my beloved grandmother, Maxine, the matriarch of the family. Their ability to overcome prejudice and thrive grounds me. My father, Ronald, the original Fat Ronnie, and my daughter, Reyna, a fifth-generation burger maker, motivate me to strive for excellence,” Ronnie added.

Fat Ronnie

Fat Ronnie’s gourmet sandwiches are fully customizable with over 32 different toppings
and can be paired with yuca fries or tostones only at the Miami Beach location

Despite the many obstacles faced during the pandemic, Fat Ronnie’s Burger Bar is still open thanks in part to Ronnie’s unique family business legacy and the support of his family and Miami Beach. Ronnie is proud to have been able to retain his Miami Beach employees during the pandemic. When asked what advice he would give to other small businesses opening in Miami Beach, Ronnie encourages entrepreneurs to find a unique niche and start small.

Today, Fat Ronnie’s Burger Bar is full and active again! The two most popular items on the menu are the Fat Ronnie 9-ounce Black Angus burger and the half-pound lobster roll made of lobster meat from Maine, and a touch of mayonnaise on a toasted buttered potato roll. Gourmet sandwiches are fully customized with over 32 different toppings. Miami Beach favorites include yuca fries and tostones, made with local, Caribbean-influenced flavors. A committed small business community member, Fat Ronnie’s Burger Bar offers discounts to first responders and local employees from Nike, Lululemon, Trader Joe’s and more.

For more information, visit their website at