We had the good fortune of connecting with Della Heiman Goldkind and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Della, what role has risk played in your life or career?
My family’s history and entrepreneurial spirit have been big influences on my understanding of and appetite for risk. My Dad’s family survived the Holocaust and rebuilt their lives in the US. The risks and challenges that they undertook to escape Europe during a horrific and turbulent time, and to start from scratch in a new country have influenced my worldview for as long as I can remember.
My Mom’s family includes some fascinating, entrepreneurial characters and community-builders; in particular, bold and barrier-breaking women. My great-grandmother Elizabeth, who was born in 1906, defied many stereotypes and norms of women of her generation. She served her community for decades in a number of public roles – she even helped create the Nashville metropolitan government system.
In both their business and community-oriented pursuits, my parents modeled taking big risks as an important aspect of building meaningful organizations and catalyzing change. My Dad has a poster on the wall of his office that says: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”, a motto that speaks volumes. My Mom loves and embodies the Margaret Mead quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Both my Mom and Dad really encouraged me to take risks and fail at a young age, always making me “get back on the horse” when I got thrown off (literally and figuratively!) Throughout my teens and 20s, they supported my out-of-the-box ideas, whether it meant living abroad for years, starting organizations, or founding my own businesses.
I feel extremely grateful to be part of a family that has such a healthy relationship with risk-taking, as it makes big decisions feel less scary and more exciting. This ethos has allowed me to experiment, iterate, and most importantly, build a shared vision with incredible, inspiring people who bring meaning to my life.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
A deep interest in continuous iteration, building team culture, creative programming and serving our community are the aspects of our brand about which I’m most excited.
I moved to Miami in 2014 to launch my first della bowls prototype restaurant. My research indicated it was the right market for a plant-based fast casual concept. I was very naive, and surprised to learn that the real estate barriers to entry for retail concepts in Miami were quite high, especially if you have an untested business idea.
After looking at dozens of brick-and-mortar sites that didn’t work out, I was almost ready to give up on Miami.
Around this time in 2015, a broker showed me several vacant lots on NW 29th Street in Wynwood. Convinced that there were other entrepreneurs in the same position as me, I decided to build a platform to foster the development of innovative Miami food, culture, design and fitness entrepreneurs. That’s what inspired me to create The Wynwood Yard.
The Wynwood Yard came to life when I was faced with obstacles that forced me to refocus, get creative, and ultimately change my original plan for opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Over time, it became a cultural hub that hosted events, fostered local and international musicians, and offered residencies to more than 36 food, design and retail businesses.
The Wynwood Yard operated as a thriving community hub from 2015 to 2019. The leased property was sold in 2019, so we had to move on. Around that time, I partnered with Joe Furst–who was a big supporter of The Wynwood Yard and one of the driving forces behind Wynwood’s revitalization–to bring the Yard concept to Downtown Doral.
We were supposed to open The Doral Yard in March 2019, pretty much the same week that everything in the US shut down due to a worldwide pandemic. During the early months of the pandemic, we collaborated with Downtown Doral, which closed its Main Street to vehicle traffic, to co-create a lively pedestrian space with murals, art, live music and outdoor seating. We finally opened The Doral Yard in October 2020, albeit in a different form with more outdoor and socially distanced seating, a new service style and a wide array of safety measures for our team and guests.
We’ve been open for a little over a year now and have expanded to a 20,000 sq ft footprint that includes:
-The Hub, a gorgeous lounge and micro food hall with diverse culinary vendors including della bowls, un pollo, offering authentic Venezuelan rotisserie chicken; World Famous House of Mac, handmade dumplings and Chinese wok favorites from YIP, and a full bar.
-The Backyard, our outdoor space, which houses a large live music stage, covered turf, casual self-serve seating, indoor and outdoor events space, an outdoor bar, a garden by Little River Cooperative, and more. Santo Dulce! Churros, serves made-to-order churro halos with ice cream and Paletas Morelia sells delicious handcrafted popsicles.
-Barbakoa by Finka, our full service restaurant by Chef Eileen Andrade, who has brought her talents and iconic Latin-Asian fusion cuisine to The Doral Yard.
The Doral Yard hosts live music Thursdays-Sundays as well as all kinds of fitness, family and entrepreneurial events for the community. We pride ourselves on being a community hub and a “third place” for locals.
There have been so many unprecedented challenges–from grappling with the Zika outbreak in 2016, to a major hurricane in 2017, to dealing with the constant adjustments and challenges COVID-19 has presented. Then there are the everyday challenges that present themselves as we work to bring happiness to our team and guests, manage finances, and address an endless stream of operational surprises and malfunctions.
Matthew Sherman, the former founder of jugofresh and an inspiring mentor, often coaches about The Problem-Solution Cycle. Just when you have one solution to a business conundrum figured out, another problem arises. The key is not to get discouraged or overwhelmed, and to just see daily challenges as part of the lifecycle of a business and the team’s growth.
I’m not saying we’re complete masters at this yet, but with time and experience, along with my amazing team, we’re better able to just see these as natural patterns in the life of a business and focus on devising creative solutions.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’ve lived in Miami for 8 years and still have so much to learn about this amazing city. Some of my go-to resources for learning about Miami’s present and past are:
Culture Crusaders (https://culturecrusaders.com/): A multi-layered field guide to exploring The Magic City.
The New Tropic (https://thenewtropic.com/) : News, events, and things to do for curious locals.
Miami Motel Stories/Juggerknot Theater Company (https://www.juggerknottheatrecompany.com/): a real-time immersive theatre experience that takes place inside hotel/motel spaces within neighborhoods with rich histories.
Some places and activities in Miami that I find particularly interesting include (by neighborhood):
Downtown Doral: The Doral Yard :), Bunnie Cakes, Bachour, Dragonfly, Downtown Doral Park
Wynwood area: check out Zak the Baker, Panther Coffee, The Wynwood Walls, Love Life Cafe, Dasher & Crank, Lagniappe
Miami Beach: The Broken Shaker/ 27, Lilikoi, South Pointe Park and beach
Little Havana: Ball & Chain, Lung Yai Thai Tapas
West Kendall: Finka Table & Tap, Islas Canarias
Coconut Grove: Vizcaya Museum, Fairchild Botanical Gardens
Allapattah: Rubell Museum, Radiate Miami Kombucha Brewery & Taproom
Nature: Farm & Food Tour of Homestead area (including Robert Is Here), Shark Valley Bike Loop
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My family is my foundation, and I’m so grateful to my husband, parents and siblings for being my wisest counsels and greatest support system.
Working in the hospitality industry during the pandemic has had its trials and tribulations, and having the opportunity to work with such a strong, creative, and resilient team at The Doral Yard has allowed me to keep my sanity and sense of humor (most days), and continue pursuing our mission and goals.
Lastly, I feel so much gratitude to my amazing community in Miami: the many entrepreneurs, creators, and dear friends who inspire and motivate me every day. This includes the founders and artists who I get to work with at The Doral Yard, The Local Leaders Collective community (https://thelocalleaders.com/), our newly-formed chapter of Let’s Talk Womxn Miami (https://letstalkwomxn.com/), and many others.
Other: dellabowls.com @dellabowls
Jacqueline Bermudez Megan McCluer