For the past month, Cristina Palacios and her husband Gustavo Gomez have been eating at Rail 71 Cafe (7255 NE Fourth Ave., Miami) two to three times a week. The regulars say they frequent the eatery because of the good vibes and delicious food.
“Every time I come here, they're happy to see me,” Palacios says. “Every single person here always smiles at me and everyone is in such a good mood. It also helps that the food is delicious and healthy.”
Rail 71 Cafe, owned by Aaron Fahimian, is the latest addition to the quickly growing Little River district. Fahimian, originally from London by way of Iranian parents, is no newcomer to the food scene in Miami. After relocating to the Magic City six years ago, he opened a café in Harbour House Condominiums in Bal Harbour. He closed it when he opened Rail 71 in May. He previously worked at a French steakhouse in New York where earned his restaurant stripes.
The café supports local vendors such as Zak the Baker, Nic & Luc, and Panther Coffee. The menu, which contains breakfast, sides, snacks, salads, wraps, soups, and sandwiches, has Indian and Middle Eastern influences. Take, for instance, shakshuka baked eggs in tomato sauce. The spices are typical of Middle Eastern countries such as Iraq, Israel, and Iran.
The café's popular avocado toast is seasoned with a spice mixture, and there's also a turmeric latte made with almond milk that will be on the menu within a few weeks. A meal can range anywhere from $5 for a light bite to $15 for a special dish. Fahimian says he wants to create healthy options for people while introducing them to something different.
“I always knew I wanted to be in the food business. I just enjoy feeding people,” Fahimian says.
The restaurant is located in the iconic Wynwood Building’s sister structure, which also houses multiple design agencies, gyms, and a new microbrewery. Fahimian’s location is the only food purveyor in the building, but he says many new customers are coming in through Yelp referrals and word-of-mouth. He will also obtain a liquor license in the weeks to come and will change the current menu to offer more vegetarian and vegan options such as a veggie burger and veggie burrito wrap.
“I have to change it from time to time because a lot of people from the building come here and they want something different. Every day we have a special, and we tell them about it daily. For the fall we’ll be starting to introduce soups every day.”
The café is also available to cater events and in working on expanding that side of the business.
The inspiration for the location comes from the working railroad that runs behind the site. The design mixes industrial and rustic features with wood and metal features. Fahimian said he wants the concept to stay true to the area.
“I’m extremely proud of it, and I’ve waited so long to get to this point of opening it. We’ve had great feedback so now I’m excited and ready to go.”
Rail 71 Cafe is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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