Jessica Sanchez, Chef/Owner, LOBA
This week in our Miami Tastemaker series we highlight a restaurateur who’s the mastermind behind the recently opened (last Friday!) MiMo restaurant, LOBA. Jessica Sanchez is the 28 year old who has single-handedly made this restaurant a reality. From designing the logo and menu, to physically ordering décor and hiring the staff in conjunction with the FIU school of Hospitality, Jessica has done it all.
MMTM dropped in the other day for a sneak peek (and taste) of the restaurant and the cohesiveness of the concept, décor and menu was both impressive and inspiring. After trying some of the food, we’re officially intrigued by and secretly obsessing over tasting the full menu – think dishes like Vincent Van Goat (fried goat cheese with local and back pepper) and Ode to Wilbur (an 18 hour sous-vide pork belly, butternut squash puree, pickled fresno chilis, frisee salad & toasted pine nuts).
We sat down with Jessica just a few short days prior to her Grand Opening to get her to take on growing up in Miami and discover more about this overachieving entrepreneur with a culinary itch.
You’re a Miami native, what was your favorite part of growing up in Miami?
Witnessing Miami evolve into the paradise city it is today, and I don’t even think we’ve reached our peak. We’re in a new chapter, the one where we start using our resources, farmers, artists, entrepreneurs, connections, etc. to show and redirect our reputation towards a more substantial place, one that leads.
What is your first memory of food?
#1. Count Chocula
#2. My mom’s famous Patacon
Can you tell us a little about the concept behind LOBA?
My intentions with LOBA are to slightly shift the paradox and shed some light on our creative and sincere side. The remodeling of the restaurant has a lot to do with what I am trying to create; hopefully the aesthetic of LOBA can transcend to our ‘lobavores’ an earthy and quaint ambiance where you can casually enjoy great food in great company.
LOBA combines Latin spice and Southern comfort by using a balanced dose of traditional and contemporary culinary arts. Our well-rounded, passionate, and insanely inventive team will always bring raw ideas to your table. With an emphasis on sharing, the main concept is built around the idea of a fearless animal that is always hungry.
Describe the LOBA menu in three words.
Bold. Innovative. Ambitious.
Tell us a little about the partnership with FIU.
I want people to walk in and instantly feel our passion, ambition and talent. That’s my goal. The only way to obtain this is to involve individuals who share the same dream. I felt like students who decide to pursue a culinary or hospitality career, chose that ladder not because they fell into it…. it was their choice, their desire.
You’ve been involved in everything from design (including some DIY projects), to hiring and even coming up with the menu. What’s been your favorite part of seeing this restaurant come to life?
Getting my hands dirty… When I leased out the space it was an Indian buffet, it was basically a blank canvas. Getting the materials from the most unexpected places, meeting people who believed in my vision, all while being able to create exactly what was inside my head was exhilarating.
People would be surprised to know…
I have a mad euro-step.
It’s the perfect summer day in Miami, how are you going to spend it?
Wake up on a boat.
Take a dip.
Bike to A.C’s Icee’s for the best frozen lemonade.
Play basketball or beach volleyball. Or both.
BBQ picnic with my crew.
Dinner at LOBA. (obvs)
Wait… is this going on match.com?
Something tells us Jessica won’t have a problem with LOBA, or match.com for that matter. Stay tuned for a full review of LOBA in the very near future. We hope you’re as excited as we are!
Mitch & Mel