Features 2 minutes 18 May 2023

How this Husband and Wife Duo are Redefining Miami Cuisine

From pop-up to permanent, Rosie's takes Southern cuisine to new heights.

They say the best things in life happen by chance. That's especially true for husband-and-wife duo Akino and Jamila West. The pair originally opened Bib Gourmand Rosie’s as a brunch pop-up, which has since become a permanent fixture, ingrained in the Miami dining scene. The one constant? Hit after hit of deliciousness from their Southern-inspired menu. Check out our Inspectors take here, and below, we chat with the Wests about how they made the switch from pop-up to permanent, what sets them apart from the rest, and what food they can't live without.

“Rosie’s is a story of perseverance and family,” says Jamila West, creative director of Rosie’s. The original location, a food truck parked outside the Copper Door B&B in Overtown, grew, over time, into its present iteration, but not without its challenges—rising rents, staffing shortages, and a competitive landscape. However, despite this, Rosie’s prevailed and has become a part of the food fabric of the community on an upward trajectory.

The core of their success lies in the menu. “It is a love note to Akino’s home-style cooking, prepared by his mother Katrina while growing up,” adds Jamila. “The name “Rosie’s” pays homage to my mother, Rosa.” The menu features a marriage of Southern and Italian flavors with, “the idea [coming] from Akino’s diverse culinary background.” Prior to opening Rosie's, Akino worked at Three Star and Green Star Noma in Copenhagen and Bib Gourmand Michael's Genuine in Miami. “Being introduced to Mediterranean ingredients, along with Floridan cuisine at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, began his passion.” Coupled with Jamila's experiences working with José Andrés at the SLS Los Angeles and SLS South Beach (a MICHELIN Guide Hotel), the pair knew they were poised for success.

“We asked ourselves, how can we make our business a little more serious and be seen as a full concept restaurant,” explains Akino, executive chef of Rosie’s. Having only done to-go orders and brunch since its start, the next step for Rosie's was to experiment with dinner service. “We were already doing breakfast, so it was like, how can we make comfort food more accessible to people.”

The answer was to lean into elevating the experience. "[Dinner] is more refined and gives us more of a chance to focus on the plating and actual experience,” he adds. As for the food, Akino keeps things playful yet haute. Some highlights not to miss? The pork and peas, a riff off Akino's childhood favorite of hot dogs and Campbell beans, using Carolina peas and Georgia raised pork shank that's braised in a red wine reduction sauce. “It’s a great way to play on memories and things we really enjoyed and grew up with,” adds Akino. Other must-try dishes include the gulf white shrimp and grits, the soft-scrambled toast, and, "collard greens are a top three," adds Jamila.

But it's the people who make Rosie's a triumph against the odds. “We attract a great deal of clientele who isolate their spending habits to black-owned businesses and ethical/community-based businesses,” says Jamila. Grants from Beyoncé’s Beygood Foundation and the NAACP helped keep the pair's original space going so they could go on to do greater things. And this is just the beginning. "This is a very exciting time for Rosie’s to reach its full potential," adds Jamila. "[but] the heart of the concept remains the same." With the same delicious flavors that fans have come to love.

Although yesterday marked the end of their initial dinner service, Rosie’s will be back in a few weeks after relocating to an indoor space. Until then, fans clamoring for their Southern fare can count on the delectable brunch menu.

Smoked lamb shank
Smoked lamb shank

Hero image: Julian Cousins/Rosie's


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