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‘Crack Spice’ and chicken tender buckets: This isn’t your ordinary Miami Vietnamese restaurant

The story of Benh Mi starts as so many new projects have — during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic

A Benh Mi spread.
A Benh Mi spread. (Courtesy of Benh Mi)

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Miami Beach’s newest modern Vietnamese restaurant and café was once only available for dine-in and pickup — but now, it can be delivered across the Venetian Causeway and straight to your door.

Benh Mi is now offering delivery on UberEats to the Edgewater, Wynwood, Brickell, and Midtown area in Miami-Dade County. (Expect DoorDash and other delivery services in the near future.)

Benh Mi is a new, modern, Vietnamese eatery founded by Executive Chef Benjamin Murray and Chef-restaurateur Michael Kaplan featuring a variety of homemade Bánh Mi sandwiches, salads, snacks, and pastries. Murray and Kaplan opened Benh Mi this past June in Miami Beach’s Española Way neighborhood.

But, wait a second. You’re probably wondering to yourself, “Why haven’t I heard of this magical place?” Well, the story behind the eatery is a classic quarantine culinary story of seeing the glass half full during an unprecedented time.

Vegetable Spring Rolls by Benh Mi. (Courtesy of Benh Mi)

The story of Benh Mi starts as so many new projects have — during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, Murray created Benh Mi as an underground Vietnamese pop-up out of his Downtown Miami apartment. Why? He just really loved Vietnamese sandwiches.

“I started creating Banh Mi sandwiches during this time because it’s my favorite sandwich,” says Murray. “It’s savory, sweet, acidic, crunchy, and soft, bite after bite. I call it a ‘flavor bomb’ because these Benh Mi sandwiches pack a flavorful punch.”

Soon after his launch, Benh Mi began selling out days in advance through Instagram. It wasn’t long before it became one of Miami’s most popular dine-at-home meal kits (restaurants such as Macchialina in Miami Beach were doing meal kits throughout the pandemic in 2020).

While continuing to expand his underground Vietnamese eatery, Murray reconnected with Kaplan, his friend from culinary school (and now New York-based chef and restaurant owner). The two friends came together to transform the original Benh Mi concept in his apartment into an actual brick and mortar location in the heart of Miami Beach.

“As terrible and tragic as this pandemic has been for everyone, especially our beloved restaurant industry, reconnecting with old friends and collaborating on exciting new projects has been a bit of a silver lining,” says Kaplan.

Benh Mi Executive Chef Benjamin Murray. (Courtesy of Benh Mi)

As for the name of the restaurant? It’s a clever play on words. Benh Mi plays on Murray’s name (Ben) and the iconic Vietnamese sandwich, the Bánh Mi.

However, don’t expect sandwiches to be the only items on the menu. The restaurant also has an extensive Vietnamese coffee and tea program, which includes espresso-based drinks, Vietnamese coffee, Vietnamese “Phin-style” coffee, as well as ube lattes made with Japanese sweet potato.

Menu highlights include savory Benh Mi sandwiches, Extra Crunchy Spicy Chicken Tenders, and Vegetable Spring Rolls.

Benh Mi is located at 1436 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139, just off of Española Way.

For more information, click here.


About the Author:

Nicole Lopez-Alvar is a Miami-born and raised journalist and TV personality covering South Florida and beyond for Local10.com.