In 2017, hospitality power couple, Akino and Jamila West opened the Copper Door B&B, which quickly became a Miami travel destination. When occupancy rates plummeted during the pandemic, the Wests introduced an outdoor-only pop-up serving the B&B’s signature breakfast. The new venture quickly earned praise from publications like Travel + Leisure, leading the couple to find a permanent home for the pop-up. Last summer, Rosie’s: The Backyard made its debut in the Little River neighborhood. Here, the Wests discuss Rosie’s Southern-meets-Italian menu, the challenges of operating al fresco, and the importance of community.
We wanted to continue breakfast although our occupancy rate had dropped dramatically. To stay afloat, we relied on our restaurant backgrounds to carry us through. It was also an opportunity to redirect our passion in a way that was isolated to providing great food. So while we were still tending to guests every now and then, we really took the opportunity to figure out how we can make this concept more than something temporary, for it to be well-executed and done with intention.
Eye of the storm
We opened in hurricane season—it was an experience. It was something that we told ourselves we would never do again. That’s something that’s super important about being a small business: learning from your mistakes and being able to take these challenges and maneuver the next time.
A mash-up made for Miami
I [Akino] grew up eating Southern food, so it’s an everyday joy. My mother, grandmother, and Jamila’s family have played a key part. But when it came down to the Italian nuances, it was the fact that I really enjoy making Italian food. So I wanted to say, ‘Hey, how can I bring those two together, and how can I have fun with what we’re putting together?’ It’s been awesome to take a challenge and say, ‘Let’s figure this out.’
This old house
We’re renovating a fairly old, Miami-style home that we’re going to turn into a restaurant. We’re looking at probably 60–70 seats indoor and outdoor. Our goal is to mainly focus on the indoor component because with Miami, you never know what could happen. Having covered seating is super important, especially for longevity. We’ve had guests come out and enjoy the experience in the rain, but that’s not the experience that we want to provide.
Word to the wise
Communication with other small-businesses, restaurateurs, and chefs has not only created a sense of security within the community for us, but also created a sense of mentorship. Being able to channel concerns, questions, or triumphs has been very helpful to our process and to our decision-making. We feel inspired by other [chefs].