Since their opening this spring, Jackson Hall has been drawing interest from all around South Florida for their innovative take on community-focused wellness and nutrition. More than just a food hall, the space also offers specialized workshops, a Positivity Library and The Garden Box, a nature-inspired gift shop stocked with wares from local artisans. We sat down with founder Della Heiman (of della bowls fame) to learn more about the medical district addition.
What inspired the creation of Jackson Hall and how long was the process to find partners and finally open the doors?
My business partner Ken Lyon and I opened Jackson Hall at 1050 NW 14th St. in Miami in the spring of 2018. It is the first wellness-focused food hall in an institutional healthcare environment. Located in the Miami Medical District (the second largest health district in the U.S.), Jackson Hall features six concepts with one purpose: to create a community of nourishment and connectedness for the people of the health district. We signed a lease for a 10,000 square foot vacant food court space at the Civic Center in late 2017, and officially opened the doors to Jackson Hall on April 17. Inspired by a vision to bring healthier culinary offerings and a sense of community to the Health District, the Yard Hospitality team designed Jackson Hall to fill daily voids experienced by hospital employees, patients and visitors.
In addition to the nutrition focus, there is a big community aspect to JH as well. Tell me a little about the events you have thrown and what you have coming up?
Adding to Jackson Hall’s mission to offer healthy, affordable and delicious food as well as provide a warm and welcoming space for people working in or visiting the medical district, the food hall offers a series of weekly and special events to further promote serenity, healing and well-being. Recurring events at Jackson Hall include Mindful Mondays. Food-focused recurring events include our weekly Taste of The Hall event on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., where the hungry and health-conscious can enjoy samples of food and drink from their choice of five concepts at Jackson Hall including della bowls, Little Island Poke, Charcoal Rotisserie, Leo + Bloom, Levante, and Radiate Apothecary and Bar for just $20.
In addition, Jackson Hall hosts workshops on a regular basis. This summer we’re teaming up with UM Sylvester Cancer Center to host a series of seminars where people can learn about the best foods to eat to address certain medical conditions or to develop a better understanding of the relationship between cancer and obesity, for example. Because of our location, we also sell miracle fruit, a berry that allows those whose taste receptors have been affected by their treatments (like chemotherapy) to savor and enjoy food again.
The location obviously goes hand-in-hand with the health-focus. How did you choose that particular area and how has the community there supported JH?
Miami’s Medical District is the second largest health district in the U.S. and was widely regarded as a food desert, with a very limited number of dining options. Making a mark in this community is in line with Heiman and Lyon’s motivation to make healthy, delicious food more affordable and accessible in the United States, specifically in areas where nutritious offerings are limited. Jackson Hall not only nourishes the body, but also the mind and soul with its warm and welcoming physical environment. There are two separate emotional ranges we experience at hospitals—either grief and mourning or elation. Until now, there hasn’t really been a space to experience either of those emotional extremes in a warm, comforting environment in most U.S. hospitals. Now there will be.
Tell me more about the Positivity Library. What is it and how did it come about?
Jackson Hall’s Positivity Library, a collaboration with Books & Books, was created for guests of all ages. It’s filled with books that make you laugh, lift your spirits, transform your mindset, and motivate wellness and positive thinking and an integral part of Jackson Hall’s mission to provide a warm, comforting space where visitors can experience grief or elation. The Positivity Library is a non-profit venture, and all proceeds will be used to purchase books for donation to hospital patients within the health district.
Do you have plans to expand or evolve the space and how do you see it growing over the next few years?
Our current growth strategy is focused on increasing our catering and wholesale offerings, and expanding our roster of daily community events and private gatherings. In addition, we’ll be expanding our morning coffee program, dinner offerings, take-out family meals, and happy hour programming. Eventually, we hope to open for themed weekend brunches as well!