Although the Caviar & More kiosk in Miami’s Aventura Mall owned Marky’s, a local luxury food importer and exporter, has been there for a decade, more shoppers than ever before are stopping to see what the kiosk has to offer.
“People are waiting to be seated, whereas before that was not the case,” says Sarah Freedman-Izquierdo, project coordinator for Marky’s. “We opened the kiosk 10 years ago, but we just revamped it in May,” when the Miami city council gave Caviar & More the go-ahead to serve a glass of wine or champagne to customers sampling the kiosk’s food.
The ruling gave Caviar & More the chance to revamp its operations on several levels that go beyond the ability to serve alcohol, Freedman-Izquierdo says. “We have a new menu, we changed how we serve, we have more professional uniforms and the staff is more customer-oriented. We brought it to a new level of service.”
The menu at Caviar & More, which has six stools in the kiosk’s bar area, includes a variety of caviars, foie gras, gourmet cheeses, smoked salmon, Belgian chocolates and two new selections: European quiches and croissants. Sandwiches sell for $5.95 to $9.95; salads from $6.95 to $12.95. Caviars include Paddlefish ($21 per ounce) and Beluga ($250 per ounce). Not surprisingly, more customers go for the Paddlefish than the Beluga, which was partially banned for import in to the US in 2005 then cleared for limited imports in 2007, a process that has kept supplies scarce and prices high.
Marky’s started wholesaling imported caviar to US gourmet stores, cruise lines and hotels in 1983 and now sells to chefs, hotels and restaurants worldwide. Freedman-Izquierdo, a former chef and more recently a buyer for the Epicure Market, a gourmet-food market in Miami, was brought in about a year ago to overhaul the Caviar & More kiosk.
“The kiosk was fine,” she says. “It was making money. But I wanted to get it perfect.”
One step towards that perfection occurred when the kiosk was granted a license to serve four-ounce glasses of wine or champagne to customers sampling the food. Only those of drinking age seated in the kiosk’s bar area are allowed wine and there’s a limit of one glass per customer.
“The champagne and wine go well with the samples of the salmon and caviar,” Freedman-Izquierdo says. She adds that more Caviar & More kiosks are not a matter of if but when.
“We want to give this six to eight months and then start looking around for other spots,” she says of the newly revamped kiosk. “People have expressed interest in franchising, so that might happen down the line. We could do company kiosks, franchising or both. Within six months we will know what’s working.
“Personally,” she adds, “I think something like this should be available to people in major malls in all the major cities.”