This Restaurant’s Latinx Founders Want To Help More People Go Plant-Based
The Concinita Miami – a former food truck turned brick-and-mortar restaurant – arrived in the Miami dining scene to help open the city's doors to plant-based cuisine. Founded by Chef Giancarlo Mitrano and Dr. Simon Alvarez, the restaurant fuses several Latin American cuisines including Mexican, Venezuela, and Colombian together without any animal products, a beacon for Miami customers who are looking to try plant-based foods. The Concinita provides an accessible, cheap, and delicious twist on some of Miami’s staple foods.
The LGBTQ Venezuelan couple originally wanted to provide a restaurant that would please all customers while also introducing them to a wide variety of traditional Latin American dishes, but the restaurant quickly transformed into a go-to vegan spot. The Cocinita began originally when the two opened a vegan food truck, eventually opened its storefront in 2020, providing Miami with one of the most extensive selections of vegan foods otherwise difficult to find.
“One of the reasons I decided to create Cocinita Miami, was to please all the palates at first, it wasn't my purpose to create solely a vegan restaurant,” Mitrano said to The Beet. “Cocinita was born with the goal of letting customers experience different flavors and textures in one plate and let them fall in love with a plant-based lifestyle that is truly flavorful so people can adapt to this healthy lifestyle."
“Many people wonder, how our vegan plates could taste so good – there's no bigger satisfaction than seeing our customers pleased and amazed to experience an explosion of flavor in every plate they order.”
The Cocinita Miami's menu features several options with the forward mission of introducing consumers to exciting plant-based foods. The founders hope that its offerings will expose customers to exciting vegan foods, persuading all customers – plant-based or not – to give vegan food a try. Some signature menu items include portobello tacos, crispy avocado bites, the MrMitrano burger, and a pancake made with corn, vegan cheese, and vegan chorizo called The Coricachapa.
Both Mitrano and Alvarez also prioritize health and nutrition when designing the menu. The two owners work separately to advocate for plant-based eating to transform personal health. Between chef Mitrano’s culinary experience and Alvarez’s nutrition expertise, the restaurant’s extensive menu provides an exciting twist on so many familiar favorites from breakfast to dessert.
“Our secret lies in creating that sentiment in plates that make people remember their hometown in a flavorful and vegan way, letting them experience a bomb of flavors and textures that will leave every customer wanting to come again,” Mitrano continued. “Our plates are a mix of cultures in which people will experience combinations that they haven't tried before, making them fall in love with our food without realizing that they're slowly adapting to a plant-based lifestyle.”
Following its storefront opening, PETA announced that The Cocinita Miami would be highlighted as one of the top 10 Latinx-owned vegan restaurants in the United States in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which spans from September 15 to October 15. The Miami-based restaurant goes above and beyond in regards to plant-based eating and experimental cuisine, making it a frontrunner for vegan food nationwide.
“Whether you’re in the mood for a coconut plantain arepa, a dairy-free cachaca, or a delicious slice of cheesecake, The Cocinita Miami has a super-tasty vegan dish for you,” PETA Latino Senior Manager Alicia Aguayo said. “The restaurants on PETA Latino’s top 10 list put vegan spins on Latin American classics that are as taste-bud–friendly as they are animal-friendly.”
Currently, The Cocinita Miami is only located at 70 SE 5th street suite 107 Miami, FL 33131, but the owners hope to open other locations across the United States. Mitrano expects that after seeing its flagship location’s success, he and Alvarez would love to “open in other cities and name the Cocinita, followed by the town we plan to open. For example, the Cocinita Chicago, the Cocinita Houston, or the Cocinita New York.”
For more great plant-based spots to eat in Miami, check out The Beet's guide to the best vegan restaurants in the city.