As long as I can remember, I’ve been a student of hospitality, cuisine, and dining. That’s what led me to my current career as founder and owner of The Copper Door B&B and Rosie’s Pop-Up in Historic Overtown, which I run with my husband, Chef Akino West. I moved to Miami about seven years ago, and I’ve since fallen in love with the cultural vibrance of this city. But being a part of the cultural fabric and evolution of Overtown has been a particularly eye-opening experience - and shown me the potential the neighborhood has.
I hope this guide can be useful for both the local Miamian as well as the tourist looking to spend time in a unique corner of the city. Historic Overtown is flowing with history and culture from the perspective of the African American and Black Miami experience. This neighborhood has a genuine love for authentic and elevated soul food as well as really exciting New American cuisine. So grab a parking spot, take a walk-through the hub of Miami’s Black history, and witness a celebration of the cuisine of our ancestors and an inspiring new wave of Black entrepreneurship and pride.
There’s more to do in Overtown than eat and drink too - and I recommend checking out Hampton Art Lovers, a fine art gallery co-founded by Christopher Norwood with a mission to highlight African American art. The Lyric Theater is another historic site in Overtown worth touring or catching a show at.
But we’re here to talk restaurants. So let’s get to it.
At Rosie’s, it doesn’t have to be a Sunday to indulge in a brunch spread. Akino and I are humbled to hear many of our guests tell us that the Rosie’s experience was of one of the best brunches they’ve had in Miami. Our concept features limited-contact service, a cozy garden vibe, and an outstanding menu of well-executed Southern breakfast dishes with Italian nuances. My personal favorite is our Soft Scramble Toast, a straightforward dish of perfectly scrambled eggs and roasted wild mushroom atop a slice of multigrain toast - simple, yet so savory and satisfying. A lot of people know us for our crispy hot chicken, Southern polenta, and house-made buttermilk biscuits. But we also like to surprise our guests with weekend specials, so follow us on Instagram for the latest.
House of Wings serves the best hot wings in all of Miami. When I indulge here, I go classic: hot wings, naked, extra sauce, and tons of bleu cheese. The menu includes over 60 other flavors and fans say that the lemon-pepper wings are not to be missed. Crowd favorite sides include the onion rings and seasoned curly fries. The owner Mussadiq “King of Poultry” Muhammad opened the establishment over 15 years ago and these wings are still simply the best. Mussadiq and his family also have deep roots within the Overtown community and play an active role in community service and neighborhood activations.
A must try that’s new on the block - literally - Italian Vice is a vendor that operates from a cool vintage cart parked outside House of Wings. The menu includes fresh flavors with witty names inspired by modern music icons. During my last visit, owner Aamir Taylor hooked me up with a combo: Drake-Colada and Trippie Cherry Redd. Not only is the ice flavorful and made with real fruit, but he also offers to-go, delivery, and caters events. As someone who spent most summers as a child in the Bronx, I tend to miss the Delicioso Coco Helado carts on every block from May through August. But Italian Vice gives me nostalgic memories of those sweet summer “Icees.”
Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster is one of the many pioneers laying the groundwork for an elevated Overtown. Besides the restaurant being absolutely stunning - decorated thoughtfully with nods to the history of Overtown as well as Art Deco glam - this place has textbook hospitality and feel-good vibes. I recently stopped in for Happy Hour and enjoyed the Brownstoner, a version of a Manhattan that I could easily drink all day long. I especially enjoyed the sour orange ribs and the deviled eggs, which are one of those snacks I seem to only get to enjoy at family gatherings. I’m also a sucker for sushi-grade fish alongside a cocktail, and Red Rooster’s current bar menu includes an amberjack tiradito as well as a ceviche. After consulting the bartender (and getting some feedback from the group sitting next to me), I went with tiradito. The leche de tigre was delicious, and the micro sorrel, cilantro, and chervil combination was a really nice touch. I love corn nuts on anything, and Chef Tristen Epps adds a dust of seasonings that gave a touch of smokiness, which rounded out all the beautiful acidity in the dish. Another thing I love about this place: Red Rooster takes its music super seriously. The restaurant hosts DJ’s, live music, and always seems to have the perfect playlist in rotation.
When you’re looking for a lowkey spot to enjoy a homestyle meal and be taken care of like a family member, visit Nicole Gates and Kariym Bryant at Lil Greenhouse. Their menu includes a few appetizers and sandwiches along with a selection of generously portioned proteins and a variety of sides. The barbecue chicken is flavorful while the pork ribs are my personal favorite. Many Greenhouse regulars rave about the rotating cake menu, with flavors like red velvet, lemon cream, and Sock-It-To-Me. I look forward to not filling up on my next visit so I can finally try a slice.
Overtown is especially alive on weekends, when events are happening in almost every corner of the neighborhood. Many of the best parties take place at The Urban, an outdoor venue where you may come across some of Miami’s A-list hip-hop celebs like Rick Ross, Trina, and The City Girls, to name just a few. The multifaceted Keon Williams manages this musically-driven outdoor bar. Right now, they’re currently closed for renovations, but keep an eye on The Urban’s Instagram to stay up to date on the latest happenings.
Now that you’ve danced a little, drank a little, and explored a little - it may be time for a coffee break. We Miamians love our coffee. But at Groovin’ Bean, it’s the frappes for me. They’re hand-blended and full of flavor. My personal favorite is the Banana Pudding Frappe, a fun play on the ultimate soul food dessert. I order mine with a shot of espresso. During the day, the cafe is homey and casual - a great place to enjoy with a small group. But at night, Groovin Bean transitions into a lounge with an on-point playlist and live performances ranging from spoken word to sexy soca nights.
Overtown’s food scene simply isn’t one without the legacy of Jackson Soul Food. Since 1946, The Jackson family has thrived in the Overtown community and served as a foundation for multiple restaurants scattered around Miami. Jackson’s serves soul food, and believes in values that promote quality food, a refreshing jazz-style ambiance, and great customer service. Their menu offers everything from salmon croquettes to chitterlings to homemade Southern desserts like banana pudding and peach cobbler. The restaurant hosts many catered and private events, so double-check their operating hours before you stop by.