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Craving something homemade? Check out these underground pop-ups from Miami’s top chefs.

Home-cooked meals without all the work.

Virginia Gil
Written by
Virginia Gil

Miami chefs and bakers have had to get pretty creative in the age of lockdown to stay afloat. As restaurants continue to close, a number of intrepid chefs have set up shop at home, churning out specialty items from their private kitchens and selling to customers directly via Instagram. Most of these tiny pop-ups operate the same way: look them up to peep their menus, slide into their DMs to order and send payment virtually (think Zelle or Venmo) before heading over to pick up your fresh-made goodies (although a handful of them do deliver). Keep in mind that these are small operations often run by a single person and quantities are usually limited, so speed is key if you want score these home-made eats.

Li’s Dum Sum 

Chefs Raymond Li Senior and Junior (who’s also a chef at Elcielo) collab on a home dim-sum and noodle concept that launches this week. The limited menu includes shrimp-chive dumplings (featuring chem-free shrimp) for about $2 apiece, cold sesame Shanghai noodles tossed in sesame dressing ($10 for a container that serves two), smashed cucumbers in a blend of vinegar and oil ($6) and vegan spring rolls served with a side of sauce ($3 a roll). Delivery is available in the North Miami/Aventura area and orders may be picked up in Sunny Isles.

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Baked goods by Joyce Sosa

The local baker and former sous chef at Bachour is selling all kinds of affordable pastries and bread. She’s got a variety of sourdoughs like caramelized onion and raisin cinnamon ($7 for plain, $8 for flavored), gluten-free cookies in chocolate chip or flourless double chocolate (6 for $6), burger buns (half-dozen for $7.50) and dinner rolls ($6 for 6). This week, she’s collaborating with Sala’o chef Jorge Mas on a special spread + bread combo for an easy, elegant snack you can order in.

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Zitz Sum

No Name Chinese’s Pablo Zitzmann is selling dishes from the now-shuttered restaurant via his new Instagram. Score scallion pancakes, fried rice and hand-pulled noodles, plus ready-to-cook dumplings you finish off at home. Zitzmann only takes five orders a day so you’ll have to wait at least two weeks for your Chinese feast, but it’ll be worth it.

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Babkas by Jessica Hernandez 

Mrs. Mandolin’s talented pastry chef is baking babka to-go from her home in MiMo. Choose from pecan praline or chocolate (each is $20) and shoot her a note with your selection. Hernandez takes orders for the week beginning on Monday and requires a 24-hour notice to fulfill them. Craving something savory? Her husband Roel Acudia is selling packs of frozen lumpia, a Filipino spring roll, also for $20.

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What Soup Miami

Cristiano Azevedo is using his fine-dining experience at restaurants like Eleven Madison Park in New York and Maska in Miami to launch his own homemade soup business from his Midtown apartment. Together with his partner Luisa Lopez, the duo churns out delicate broths and purées made with mostly organic ingredients. Flavors change weekly and past selections have included tomato basil, carrot ginger and beet Borsht—an International curveball of which there’s always at least one. The week’s menu is posted on Wednesday and orders must be submitted by Friday morning for pickup on Friday afternoon or for delivery (within a 10-mile range) on Saturday.

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Peruvian food by Mama Fuji

You’ve likely heard of Fuji Film Girl, but the food-photographer surely gets her culinary know-how from her momma, Mama Fuji. The home-cook is doling out all kinds of Peruvian dishes, from lomo saltado and papa a la huancaina to pescado sudado, in both shareable and individual portions priced between $8 and $20. Food is available for pickup on Saturday and Sunday but you’ll want to order as soon as the week’s specials are posted—everything always sells out.

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Meals by Nicole Votano

The opening chef at Fooq’s and former executive chef at Le Chick, who’s now turned to catering, is offering a variety of home-cooked dishes to-go. From banana bread to bananas foster parfait to jars of Sunday sauce, plus other yet-to-be-announced dishes, Votano will be sharing her menu on Instagram and taking orders starting this week. Pickup and delivery will be available one day a week in the Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale areas.  

SoBe Noodles

Peter Fred has helmed the kitchens of at Tuyo and Fi’lia and now he’s wielding his talents at home. SoBe Noodles is his freshly launched pop-up serving up three types of soul-warming ramen with handmade soba noodles. There’s beef with braised short rib ($17) that’s topped with a very photogenic soft egg; a Puerto Rican version with sofrito-rubbed pork belly ($16); and an anything-but-boring vegan ($14) with truffle marinated tofu and shiitake mushroom dashi. Service begins in May with pickup available in the Downtown Miami area.

Sobe Noodles
Photograph: Ixamar Palumbo/@TheWandertog
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PlantB Cafe

Arguably one of Miami’s most popular vegan burgers, which you can usually score at the Coconut Grove Farmers’ Market on Saturdays, is now available on-demand. Hit them up on Instagram for a kit (you’ll have to cook and assemble your own) or a ready-made plant-based sammy you can pick up in Little Havana or get delivered in Coconut Grove, Little Havana, Downtown, Brickell, Coral Gables, and Wynwood for $5 with a minimum order of three. You’ll need to shell out $5 and buy five burgers for delivery outside of the aforementioned zones. 

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Benh Mi

Benjamin Murray’s regular gig is as chef de cuisine at Pao by Paul Qui at Faena in Miami Beach, but lately, it’s his at-home banh mi operation that’s keeping him busy. Benh Mi offers three different types of sandwiches, all made from scratch and available for pickup in Downtown Miami, where Murray lives. It’s a new business but it’s seemingly taking off fast—Murray is already sold out days in advance.

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Luna Rossa Cucina Rustica

Juan Rozo was let go from his full-time job as soon as we all started sheltering in place, but rather than dwell on the misfortune of the situation, the home chef turned it into an opportunity. "I really sat down and contemplated what I was going to do. I thought, I’m not going to find a job anytime soon and that triggered me to invest in something," says Rozo, who used his stimulus check to buy himself a pizza oven and all the ingredients he needed to kickstart his pizzeria business from home. Now the pizzaiolo is slinging fresh pies across town, offering free delivery from downtown Miami to Homestead and Kendall. Because he’s making the pizzas and delivering them himself (a requisite of his food handlers license), orders must be placed 24 hours in advance. Pies are 12" (enough for one hungry person) and run from $12–$17. Our favorite: the summer breeze with dollops of fresh ricotta and prosciutto ham. Rozo plans to launch a food truck soon, so be sure to keep an eye out for that. 

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