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South Beach’s “SOFI” neighborhood exudes sense of community

Miami Beach and South Beach each have their own distinct neighborhoods that reflect the eclectic cultures and lifestyles of South Florida.

My favorite? The South of Fifth, a community tucked away in the southern-most tip of Miami Beach. Surrounded by some of the city’s more luxurious condominiums, “SOFI,’’ as it’s known to locals, attracts some of the best culinary talents in the country, including globally-known restaurants such as Joe’s Stone Crab, RED South Beach, Nikki Beach, Estiatorio Milos and Smith and Wollensky, as well as a local favorite, Stubborn Seed.

The great food options are not the only thing that make this neighborhood so special.

The people and the businesses truly care about the community. As Covid 19 set in, two South of Fifth residents and Miami philanthropists – Will and Mac Osborne – launched Meals For Heroes Miami (https://www.mealsforheroesmiami.org/), a non-profit organization that fed front line workers with hot meals from Miami’s top chefs.

RED South Beach was the organization’s first culinary partner. Grove Bay Hospitality (Stubborn Seed) and Joe’s Stone Crab soon joined in. In the midst of a global shutdown, SOFI chefs supplied 500-800 hot meals per week to the organization.

Quarantine gave some of the restaurants opportunities to grow. During shutdown, RED South Beach launched the online “Red Butcher Shop, ” in which it sold the restaurant’s prized cuts of meat and fresh seafood to locals. The concept quickly generated such a buzz that RED has formed a long-term plan to launch RED Butcher Shop nationwide by July 2020. SOBE Vegan – a new Vegan Comfort food concept – will open its doors to the SOFI community later this summer.

Experience SOFI (http://experiencesofi.com/), a neighborhood-wide event that showcases the top restaurants, bars, lounges, artists and businesses in South of Fifth, has been moved from July to January 2020. each July. South of Fifth residents can purchase tickets at a discounted rate.

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