The Overtown soul food pop-up Rosie’s grew out of a broken dream.
Jamila Ross and Akino West, partners in life and business, had to close their boutique Copper Door Bed & Breakfast during much of the pandemic. The silver lining was their impromptu restaurant, Rosie’s, where they cooked out of the hotel kitchen and served in a makeshift patio outdoors for the past year.
With buttery vanilla-nutmeg waffles, crispy fried chicken, flaky biscuits, pastrami hash, and cheddar grits with tomato coulis, Rosie’s was an instant hit.
Losses during the pandemic meant the newlywed couple had to close the Copper Door for good on Aug 31. But the experiment has led to a new, permanent home for Rosie’s.
Ross and West, a protégé of James Beard award-winning chef Michael Schwartz, will debut a new Rosie’s just 1.5 miles north, near Jackson Memorial Hospital, at 1951 NW Seventh Ave., on Sept. 16.
“It has been bittersweet,” Ross said. “But food and hospitality is what carried us. People loved it.”
Expect more of what made Rosie’s such a success: an all-day soul food brunch, handled with Ross’ flair for service and West’s gift as a chef. The couple expects to open seven days and expand on a breakfast, lunch and brunch menu with some of their greatest hits, from blueberry and lemon ricotta pancakes to Southern polenta with chickpea stew and roasted okra. They will add soups, salads, and fresh-baked pastries and sandwiches such as their fried chicken biscuit for the nearby hospital workers.
Their plan for Rosie’s doesn’t end there. They have started to renovate an 1,800-square-foot house in Little River, near Northwest 78th Street and Second Avenue, for a larger restaurant they hope to move into late next year. They expect to keep their health district spot, serving breakfast and lunch, including pastries, bagels and grab-and-go food for the lunchtime crowd.
The couple’s big pivot started when restrictions to stem the spread of COVID-19 forced them to shutter their bed and breakfast in March of 2020. They turned to the pop-up they had originally hoped to open inside the hotel and named it after Ross’ mother.
They got a boost in the summer of 2020 following the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, as people started looking for ways to support Miami’s Black-owned businesses. They even won a $10,000 grant from the Beygood Foundation, a collaboration between the entertainer Beyoncé and the NAACP to support Black-owned businesses affected by the coronavirus.
All of it served to keep their new dream alive.
“We never let ourselves get down,” Ross said. “Always forward, always pushing.”
Where: 1951 NW Seventh Ave., Miami
Hours: 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
Opening Sept. 16.