The magic of Edukos lives and thrives in the hyphen between Venezuelan-American, not 100% of either side and yet still tastes like home. Since January 2017, is the physical representation of anyone born in Miami to parents from another country: it’s not fully here and not fully there.
“This is that clash, when you’re not Venezuelan enough and not American enough,” you get dishes like Buffalo chicken plantains explains owner John Guilarte. Dishes like Empanada Gringo are inspired by his food memories from his visit to Venezuela when he was 13 years old.
In fact, the Venezuelans are harsher critics of his food than the Americans.
“I want to show I’m Venezuelan without having to put up a flag,” he explains. So instead, he pays homage through the food and the building itself.
The restaurant feels like you just walked into Abuela’s house because of the family pictures hanging above the bar. But it also feels like you walked into a pizza oven; the space used to be a pizzeria but Guilarte didn’t want to change the structure. It’s also probably the only building in Miami that keeps its sliding doors open to let the breeze in and also offers complimentary parking.
At its core, Edukos is a Venezuelan-inspired, plant-based food gastro tavern. Try saying that three times fast.
“It’s what needs to happen,” Guilarte says about transiting to more environmentally-friendly ingredients.
With an authentic feel and mission, there is one physical and mental roadblock that limits Edukos: construction right outside that seems to never end. It was supposed to be done by April 2017 but it keeps getting postponed ‘for the next week’ for almost two years now.
Instead of shying away, Guilarte has posted pictures about it to not only “put them on blast” but to encourage locals and tourists to come despite the construction outside.
“First came the hurricane [Irma], then the construction,” he explains. “The construction has kept us at a small team, it’s just been the chef and I for a year.”
The chef, Manuel Cabeza, has been cooking since he was 16 and after fleeing the Venezuelan regime, has been with Edukos since its beginnings. His favorite part of being the chef and creating the recipes is the ability to mix different types of flavors into Venezuelan food, especially vegan style.
“Anyone who comes and tries it will still feel at home because it has a mix of cultures,” Cabeza said.
Besides the ideals behind the plate, you won’t even realize it’s vegan because you’ll be too busy dumping your tequenos into cilantro sauce and trying their special, Bollo Pelon; the meal consists of impossible meat stuffed corn poppers with tomato sauce - not to be confused for what you probably think this is.
“I just told the customers they’re eating plant-based meat and they completely freaked out,” Guilarte laughs.
1701 W Flagler St suite 101, Miami, FL 33135