Inside The Brickell City Centre’s New Massive Food Hall: La Centrale

LA CENTRALE EXTERIORPhoto Credit: Michael Pisarri

Food halls are definitely having a moment in Miami, but one, in particular, has kept us anxiously waiting—the stunning, 40,000 square-foot Italian food hall, La Centrale, anchored in the Brickell City Centre. The project has been in the works for about four years, and after much preparation and fine-tuning to perfect the masterpiece, it is finally ready to debut officially to the public on Friday, February 16th.

In case you’ve missed out on the excitement, some highlights of the upcoming space include 14 different Italian eateries, five chic bars, a selection of over 1,000 retail products, three levels of options, a wine cellar (with over 450 brands and 4,000 bottles) and so much more.

Haute Living got a sneak-peek of the space and some one-on-one time with co-founder Matthias Kiehm to find out more about the journey he and co-founder Jacapo Giustiniani took to get here, what the massive food hall has to offer and what makes it unique. Here’s what the restaurateur had to say:

La CentralePhoto Credit: Haute Living

HL: How did you come up with the concept of La Centrale?

MK: We started developing the idea about four years ago. Having lived and worked in Europe, we were very familiar with the concept of food halls. At that point in time, it was not as prevalent in the U.S. We wanted to create an Italian-centric food hall that was more restaurant-forward than retail forward, that would be a great addition to any department stores or malls where you have a strong footfall. We looked at various food halls throughout North America and traveled throughout Europe to look at what works with a food hall and what makes it successful and started to take our thoughts, put it on paper and develop the concept. That’s how we got to where we are today.

HL: What drew you to Brickell? 

MK: There are few cities on the East Coast where it makes sense to have a food hall, and one of them was Miami. I think that over the past few years, Miami has developed into a very thriving city with an elevated food profile—a lot of chefs from North America and Europe are coming to Miami to create new concepts. We felt that the Brickell City Centre, and Brickell itself, was a great opportunity—we knew we wanted to be in an area where people work, live and where you have tourists—Brickell has all of that.

La CentralePhoto Credit: Haute Living

HL: Food halls are on the rise in Miami. What’s special about La Centrale?

MK: We are 40,000 square-feet, so we are one of the bigger food halls in the city. But what separates us the most is our design. It’s very authentic. Even though our designer is from Miami, he studied in Milan—it was important to us to have someone who understood Italy so that we could transpose the feelings and emotions of Italy to the people of Miami. We are 100-percent Italian from both a food and design aspect. We traveled with our designers to Italy to select the tiles and stones, and to get inspiration from wineries and wine cellars, and what kinds of materials were being used. The floor, as well as the ceiling, is Terracotta tile from Tuscany—the wine shop and design of the seafood restaurant are the same. So that makes us very unique. Also, you can take most of the food away. We didn’t want it to be a supermarket because we are restaurant guys, but we needed a retail aspect to make it a true food hall. Thirty percent of the total space is dedicated to retail. You can buy almost anything that you just ate in the restaurant, from meat and fish, to sauces and spices. You can also buy the wine in our third-floor wine cellar, where we have a vast selection of fine wines. So we have both fresh and ambient retail throughout the space as well as fine and casual dining.

La CentralePhoto Credit: Haute Living

HL: What was the toughest part about bringing this project to life?

MK: Its size was one factor—the fact that it’s 40,000 square-feet and three floors make it challenging to coordinate. Therefore, the hardest part was designing the operational flow throughout the space and making sure the customer’s journey of discovery was exactly the way we wanted it to be.  Now that it’s done, I must say that it’s a dream of a lifetime that has now become a reality.

HL: Favorite dish there?

MK: I don’t have a favorite necessarily, but I really am crazy about the pasta because it’s all homemade.

La CentralePhoto Credit: Haute Living

HL: Overview of everything La Centrale has to offer: 

MK: There is a Café serving breakfast, lunch and dinner; a Pizza and Pasta area serving lunch and dinner; the second floor has a meat, fish and seasonal restaurant, in addition to an Aperitivo bar and Gelateria; the third floor has a wine shop, wine bar and prviate dining room, as well as a cooking studio; the ground floor houses the Mercato—the ready-meal area, in addition to Rotisserie station, Salumi e Formaggi, bakery and pasta station; throughout the first and second floor, guests will find gondolas where they have various ambient products ready for purchase.

LA CENTRALE CARNEPhoto Credit: Michael Pisarri