Originally appears in Lifestyle Miami
DIRT is a new restaurant taking over Miami Beach. Having opened their doors just a few weeks ago, they’ve acquired over 2000 followers on Instagram, a large customer base, and strong ties with the community. DIRT is located between Collins and Washington Avenue, and provides a healthier, more refreshing way to split your time between land and sea. They are committed to telling you the truth about your food, whether it’s about the ingredients, the way it’s processed, or the locations of the farms themselves. With a positive concept and a dedication to working with locals, DIRT is more like a welcoming community than just another fast-casual restaurant.
Their most popular dishes include their vegan seasonal options (Autumn Bowl, Autumn Plate, DIRT x lululemon Autumn Salad), as well as the Nourish Salad and the DIRTy Steak + Cheese. Jeff LaTulippe, the Co-Founder and General Manager of DIRT, says of these, “the Nourish Salad comes with sprouted chickpeas and lentils, roasted curried cauliflower, house-made mole vinaigrette and cucumber mint yogurt. The DIRTy Steak + Cheese is a very hearty sandwich made with grass-fed steak, jalapeno Monterey jack cheese, caramelized onions, sunflower sprouts, and a horseradish “aioli”. Eggs or a protein can be added to any of the vegan options. In order to accommodate growing dietary preferences, DIRT includes vegan, gluten-free, and paleo menus.
DIRT works hard to get local ingredients. They want to be sure of their product’s source before giving it to the customer. “Some of the relationships with farmers have developed over years of working in the Miami culinary scene. Others have developed more quickly as farmers and other local vendors have heard about our concept and said, “I have a farm. Can I have you come check it out or send you some samples?” DIRT’s transparency helps us to make more informed decisions about our food, without feeling like we’re in a lecture.
One example of a relationship DIRT has developed with farmers, is that of their egg purveyor, Sun Fresh Farm and Ranch. “Chef Nicole met the owner, Jeremy, at a farmers market in Pinecrest. He was not selling wholesale yet, but she supported him by buying small amounts of kale, tomatoes, and green beans until he was ready to sell his amazing eggs.” DIRT now uses these eggs exclusively.
Hosting community events is an important part of DIRT’s mission. Currently, they partner with Feeding South Florida, which provides snacks and other food items to children in need. This “Backpack Program” aims to increase children’s access to food when school is not in session. DIRT donates 1% of their sales to the cause. DIRT has also worked with local yoga instructors who run “Transcend Miami Beach”, a yoga, meditation, and life coaching event. LaTulippe says, “We created a new cold-pressed juice called TRANSCEND for everyone who attended the event [ingredients: watermelon, beets, coconut water, lime, vanilla bean, alkaline water] — we’re now selling the juice in stores.”
Just recently, Chef Nicole participated in Swank Specialty Produce’s “Swank Table Farmer’s Market Dinner”. This event benefitted Season to Share, an organization that provides financial assistance to local families in need. In the near future, DIRT is planning to serve a multi-course dinner with tea pairings by Chef Nicole and JoJo Tea.
LaTulippe says, “Each season we will continue to have a new seasonal plate, bowl, and salad. For Autumn, we partnered with Cristina Ramirez, lululemon’s local community ambassador, to develop our seasonal salad. Going forward, we will continue this type of collaboration with other members of the local health and wellness community.”