Happea’s: A Culinary Journey from Vegan Oasis to Mediterranean Marvel

Photo Credited to: Happea's

Happea’s is a Mediterranean Kitchen that offers a fresh and healthy dining experience in the lively Brickell district of Miami. The restaurant has gone through many changes and innovations to find its place in the local food scene, where it caters to customers who value a nutritious and satisfying meal. In this article, we’ll share the fascinating story of Happea’s, a restaurant that has adapted to the needs and preferences of Miami residents who love a good bite.

The Beginnings: A Pandemic Pivot to Vegan

Happea’s embarked on its culinary journey during the challenging times of the pandemic. Originally conceived as a fast-casual American-Mediterranean Kitchen with a touch of Latin influence, the restaurant made a bold move to go fully vegan. Their vision was clear – create a menu that would entice non-vegans and make them forget they were eating plant-based dishes. And they succeeded brilliantly.

The restaurant opened its doors in the bustling Brickell district, which, despite the pandemic, remained in high demand throughout the year. It was an unexpected success story, with 5-star reviews pouring in and business steadily growing month by month. However, just a year into this promising journey, they faced an unexpected challenge when their landlord decided to part ways with them, leaving them with only two weeks to relocate.

A New Beginning: Overcoming Relocation Challenges

Despite the setback, Happea’s found a new and improved location on Brickell’s main avenue. Unfortunately, the move came at a cost – eight months of closure. By the time they were ready to reopen, the pandemic was waning, and people were returning to their usual dining habits. This prompted a shift in their concept, and they transitioned into a more formal establishment.

However, this transition proved to be a double-edged sword. Many of their loyal vegan customers left due to the introduction of animal proteins, while the low season further compounded their struggles. It was a challenging time for Happea’s, as they grappled with the dilemma of keeping their new menu additions or reverting to their vegan roots.

The Turning Point: Lunch Specials and Happy Pockets

Amidst this culinary crisis, Eduardo and the Happea’s team made a bold decision to introduce meat options alongside their vegan offerings. Customers could now choose between vegan and non-vegan versions of their favorite dishes. This move came with its own set of challenges, as they had to educate the locals about this new menu direction.

To attract more patrons, they introduced “Lunch Specials – All Day,” offering smaller-sized bowls packed with the same amount of protein, and priced competitively between $9.97 and $14.97. This strategy began to pay off, as people flocked to Happea’s and brought their friends along. The momentum was building, and the restaurant was once again on the rise.

During this transformation, Happea’s found its identity as a Mediterranean Kitchen, with their warm and creamy hummus at the core of their menu. Still, something was missing – an item that could complement their Lunch Special bowls. Thus, the concept of “Happy Pockets” was born. These pockets featured various proteins like Ribeye Steak, Chicken Shawarma, and Beef Kebab, all served in a warm, fluffy pita with pickled vegetables and homemade sauces. It was a menu item that packed a flavorful punch, something customers couldn’t resist.

The Challenge of Success: Reducing Wait Times

As Happea’s continued to gain popularity, the restaurant faced new challenges. Long wait times became an issue, with customers enduring up to 40 minutes before enjoying their meals. To address this issue, the Happea’s team embarked on a mission to streamline their operations and reduce wait times to a more manageable 10 minutes.

While the details of this challenge may have evolved by the time you read this article, one thing is certain – Happea’s is committed to providing delicious and healthy Mediterranean cuisine to the residents of Miami.

Happea’s is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of a restaurant that has navigated the turbulent waters of the pandemic and emerged stronger and more vibrant than ever. It serves as an inspiration for Miami residents who appreciate a fresh and healthy meal in a welcoming and innovative dining environment. Whether you’re a vegan, a carnivore, or somewhere in between, Happea’s has something special to offer, making it a must-visit destination in Brickell.


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