Published on July 2nd, 2021

by Tim Moffatt

The gestation period of an African elephant is 22 months; that’s 2 years of pregnancy to a baby that will weigh at birth, roughly 110 pounds. It is the longest gestation period of any mammal, and the mama cow certainly deserves a Mother’s Day card and a martini at the end of it. The incubation period for Oak Garden, however, was 10 years. The organization started as Smart Bites, (@smartbitestogo) an organic restaurant in Allapattah that focused on healthy meal programs and operated a food window for folks on the go. Owners Mari and Will began branching out into the parking lot behind the restaurant to grow fresh produce for their wares and just never stopped.

Miami has been conspiring to keep their best kept culinary secrets, secret. Alapattah, Little Haiti, Downtown Miami have all been on the come up in recent years with spots like, Boia De, a stone’s throw from Churchill’s, House of Food Porn, and now Oak Garden. Unlike those other paragons of food elevating élan, Oak Garden is striving for more than just opulence in a strip mall parking lot. Not that that should dissuade you from trying any of these places; although, you would have better luck getting a reservation at Dorsia.

During the pandemic, with venues closed, the Smart Bites garden began flourishing with musicians for socially distanced weekly jam sessions dubbed: Small Bites After Dark. The homegrown concept allowed chefs, artists and musicians to expose visitors to their art and culinary concepts. Oak Garden, the flower blooming from those seeds, is aiming to be a cultural hub for Miami’s ever-expanding talent, be it beer, music, food, whatever. When describing their concept, Mari and Will described it thusly,

“It’s been a beautiful six-month journey so far since we decided to brand Oak Garden. We hope to welcome everyone with programming from Wednesday to Friday, always open from 7pm – close. Also open for special events and concerts during the entire week. A concept as homegrown as it gets!”

Like the elephant calf and the rewards of toiling in a vegetable garden, the wait is worth it. Now that Oak Garden has found its proverbial sea legs and is about to hit a stride despite the waning pandemic, perhaps we can enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Oak Garden is currently on Summer Break. Via instagram:

“The last six months here in Florida have been long, but we’ve made it! We wanted to thank every musician and person that has come to Oak Garden over this period of time. We want to keep those memories intact and make it so everyone remembers Oak Garden as a place of good times and culture. Right now, the weather is not helping in terms of allowing us to bring out the best of our venue, which is why we have decided to close shop for the duration of this mosquito, sticky period of the summer season, and instead open our doors again in a few months – taking a summer break – slowing down so we can go faster!

We also want to catch up on pending requests that we have received from all our amazing community over the last few months, and want to organize ourselves better to be able to respond adequately to each moving forward! Thank you so much for all the magic, all the good times, and all the memories. Cheers!”

Oak Garden is located at 791 NW 20th Street, Miami. Find their entertainment schedule and more online at oakgardenmiami.com Instagram: @oakgardenmiami