Miami Gems: Smart Bites
September 22, 2017Janel Allen
Did you know that Miami’s first real sustainable restaurant concept is sitting right in the heart of Allapattah? Converting a parking lot into a farm, Smart Bites is making healthy food more accessible to Miami. Sustainability is shown to be a huge part of the food revolution and Smart Bites is proving that it can be pretty delicious. Initially starting as a meal delivery service, they have evolved to also serve out of their restaurant directly alongside those plans.
They are focused on making a closed loop system where food, animals, and processes are all connected. They believe in growing your food and medicine in a way that gives more back to the earth than you take. Growing their own tilapia, produce, and even snails, they are continuously working on ways to remove the middleman from making their menu items come to life. Their focus is on symbiosis. They even repurpose water to be used by fish and eventually to serve as fertilizer for plants. Full circle, they also compost old trees, pallets, fruits, and vegetables from farmers markets around town.
In addition to helping us know exactly where our food is coming from, they are making an effort to give back to the community. They give high school students the chance to get a plot of land to instill and encourage the drive to know where their food comes from and give people with a troubled past a second chance, hiring many folks who have had trouble finding work here in Miami. They want the community to feel like the farm belongs to all of us, growing edible plants in repurposed cans to place around Allapattah.
Founded by William Ltaif, he began his career as a personal chef for athletes. Through his work with them, he realized that sustainable and healthy diets should be accessible to everyone and not just the rich and famous. He wants to benefit every kind of consumer in a way where they know every step of the process entailed to make their food. With a background in nutrition and personal training, he is working to make sustainability the norm. He is passionate about changing our relationship with food and he is well on his way to doing just that.
When it comes to the food within the restaurant, not everyone can be vegan or vegetarian, so their menu touches every type of diet. The answer is doing it sustainably. William’s business partner Mari Villa creates menu items which range from soups and sandwiches, to bowls and burgers. They have Miami’s only cricket burger and are growing their crickets right on site. And the best part, it is all incredibly, and surprisingly affordable. Typically, you are ready to spend the extra bucks for healthy food, but Smart Bites, in its mission for accessibility, prices all bites in a way that won’t break the bank but will satisfy every taste.
We had the chance to get our hands on some incredible eats. We tried a variety of vegan, vegetarian, and non-vegan options and there is something to say about knowing where your food is coming from and how that reflects in the flavor and experience. The Argentinian Bowl, Greens Sandwich, Vegan Beet Burger, and Vaca Frita bowl were all incredibly delicious and we can’t wait to go back. But all around, from their juices, to their desserts, they are proving sustainability doesn’t have to compromise taste.
Smart Bites is revolutionizing the way food reaches the consumer and it is so comforting to know the time and passion that is going into making that happen for us right here in Miami. Taking the lead on this front, Smart Bites needs to be on your radar. So make your way over there, enjoy your meal and take a stroll through the farm to see just where your meal came from.
Photos by FujiFilmGirl.