Crowd attends 6th Annual Miami Lakes Food & Wine Festival

Community By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Thursday, February 15, 2024

   Under the warm glow of cafe lights, Miami Lakes Food & Wine Festival patrons followed a path through Optimist Park to sample wines, craft beers and small bites from local restaurants. 

     Music filled the park and welcomed revelers during the three-hour charity event that benefitted education and other causes of the Miami Lakes Town Foundation

     Marking its sixth year, the bash on Feb. 3 drew over 1,000 people. 

     Among restauranteurs giving out delicious appetizers was Amazonia Nikkei.     

     It was the first festival for the Peruvian-Japanese fusion restaurant that opened on Main Street last summer. 

     “We’re so happy to be invited,” Co-Owner Matias Gorban said in Spanish. “We’ve only been open nine months.” 

      He saw regular customers and met new ones during the party on that cool evening. 

     “We’re very happy with the Miami Lakes community,” Gorban said. 

     Anchor Roxanne Vargas of WNBC-Ch. 6 Miami was the special guest. Tico Casamayor, president of AC Graphics and director of publicity for the Miami Lakes Chamber of Commerce, was the master of ceremonies. 

     Folks could enjoy tastings from new and returning restaurants while enjoying music from DJ L.O.S and the Ven Pa Gozar band. 

     Jennifer Paez was back for another year and was excited to sample from different menus. 

     “I have such delicious foods and I learn about the restaurants in Miami Lakes,” Paez said. 

     Though Paez lives in town, she said she didn’t realize the variety of dining spots in Miami Lakes. 

     “It’s a great opportunity to try new restaurants,” Paez said.   

     For a $125 ticket, festivalgoers could sample offerings from 25 restaurants and food vendors who provided a wide variety of flavors. Beverage makers and local bars offered wines, hard seltzers, craft beers and non-alcoholic drinks. 

     While the party for a good cause continued into the night, Mayor Manny Cid was there with the restaurant he co-owns, the Mayor’s Café.  

      He also honored festival co-founders Lynn Matos and Giuseppe Zuozo. 

     “I wanted to take a moment and name today after them,” Cid said. “They were the folks that started this. Thank you, guys, for bringing our community together.” 

     The crowd raised their glasses and cheered for the pair who created the event to promote kindness and education. Festival proceeds will fund projects through the Miami Lakes Town Foundation. 

     “For all of you that donated, bought tickets, sponsored or my community partners who held my hand when I had COVID … I don’t know what I would have done without each and every one of you,” Matos told the crowd. 

     She also thanked Zuozo for joining with her to spread kindness through the festival. 

    “‘Be Kind, Drink Wine’ was born, kindness is our mission, community is our mission,” Matos said. 

     Clarisell De Cardenas, public information officer for the town and a member of the Town Foundation, thanked the pair for the work they have done to benefit the community. 

     The foundation in 2023 awarded $9,400 to educators, coaches, students and a Boy Scout for various programs. 

      “This event is for a good cause and it’s a great night out,” Paez, the returning resident said. “I believe it’s worth the money.” 

Festival Co-Founder Lynn Matos thanked sponsors, restaurants, beverage companies and community partners for supporting the festival. 

     Sponsors included Maverick Marketing Co.; Neuelane; AC Graphics Digital; Water N Fire Recovery, LLC; Hermanni & Lorenzo Law Group; Sierra Commercial Construction, Inc.; Miami Lakes Bar Association; ReMax Unique Realty; SB Signs & Banners Large Format Printing; The Graham Companies; Specialty Smiles Orthodontics; Headquarter Toyota; South Florida Laundry Solutions; Future Force Personnel Service; Layer 8 Solutions; Andy’s Range & Training Center; JetStream Federal Credit Union and Ocean Bank. 

     Restaurants participating this year included Vicky Bakery; DiCED; Acai Express; The Garrison Taproom Miami Lakes; Amazonia Nikkei; Misha’s Cupcakes; Anthony’s Coal Fire Pizza; La Diosa Taqueria; Gauchos Gourmet Market Miami Lakes; La Strega Cucina Italiana & Steakhouse; Korner 67; BB’s Bakehouse; Chela’s Cocteleria; La Cumbancha; Creations in Bloom Edible Art catering; El Pimiento Restaurant; Giardino Gourmet Salads; Bolay Fresh Bold Kitchen; Mayors Café Miami Lakes and Ernie’s Acai Bowls.

Also supporting the festival:

     Wine companies were Zuozo Family Vineyards; Sur Valles Wine Group; Union Beverages Co.; MEXCOR International - Florida; ALDAN Wines; Vine Pro Imports; Casa Rovigatti, Inc.; Zonin; Wine National; Solera Imports and E&J Gallo Winery. 

      Community Partners include Mayor Manny Cid; The Miami Lakes Town Council; Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sen. Rene Garcia; Fernando Gonzalez; Joseph Sosa; Miami Lakes Town Foundation; Town of Miami Lakes; Maverick Marketing Co.; Neuelane; Miami-Dade Police, Miami Lakes District; Miami-Dade Fire Rescue; Optimist Club of Miami Lakes; Miami Lakes Chamber of Commerce; Miami Lakes AutoMall; Clear Channel Outdoor; Light F/X Pros; Uber; Layer 8 Solutions; Empire Event Rentals; Miami Lakes Hotel on Main; WNBC-Ch. 6; Roxanne Vargas; Jennifer Aguirre; Tico Casamayor; Gani Films; Law Office of Gloria M Garcia, P.A.; Dipp Photo Booth; Guillermo Dipp; Edwin Cardona; Matthew Casamayor; SFM Services, Inc.; Freebee; Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church; Brady Fire Equipment Inc.; Emergency Ice Miami; Ana Ballester and Staff; AC Graphics Miami; Electrical Contracting Service, Inc.; The Miami Laker; Masters Investigation-Security, Inc.; Sigma Protective Services; Chris McCall; Danny de Varona; Gloria Garcia; Manny Perez; J.C. Fernandez; Signs and Banners, LLC; 305 Sports and Lazaro “Laz” Arcacha.


Photo on stage: WNBC-Ch. 6 Anchor Roxanne Vargas; Town Clerk Gina Inguanzo; Clarisell De Cardenas, Town of Miami Lakes communications and community affairs director; Lynn Matos, festival co-founder; Fred Senra, partner, Miami Lakes AutoMall and Kay Grant, Town of Miami Lakes chief financial officer hidden by Lynn Matos; Master of Ceremonies Tico Casamaryor; Giuseppe Zuozo, festival co-founder; Councilman Ray Garcia; Mayor Manny Cid and behind him, Vice Mayor Tony Fernandez and Councilman Luis Collazo. Photo: Tico Casamayor.

Photo of Town Foundation board members and town officials:  Vice Mayor Tony Fernandez; Clarisell De Cardenas, Town of Miami Lakes communications and community affairs director; Kay Grant, Town of Miami Lakes chief financial officer; Mayor Manny Cid; Miami Lakes Food and Wine Festival co-founders Giuseppe Zuozo and Lynn Matos; Joseph Sosa, assistant to the mayor; Gina Inguanzo, town clerk; Susana Alonso, Town of Miami Lakes principal town planner; Fred Senra, partner, Miami Lakes AutoMall; Councilman Luis Collazo and Councilman Ray Garcia. Clarisell De Cardenas, Kay Grant, Gina Inguanzo and Fred Senra are members of the Miami Lakes Town Foundation board of directors.  Photo: Alexandra Herrera.