By Anamaria Moreno | firstname.lastname@example.org
Just outside of Oakland Park, in the heart of a very historic Sistrunk Boulevard, sits a new phenomenon. It is a myriad of choices all packaged up in a single space called Sistrunk Marketplace and Brewery.
Sistrunk Boulevard is an extension to Oakland Park’s Andrews Avenue. Sistrunk runs East – West and contains much history in its wake through time. The original residents established there after coming from the Bahamas, Georgia, and South Carolina while they worked on railroads for the expansion northward in the late 1800’s. After concluding construction on the railroads, these workers stayed and settled in what is now known as Sistrunk Boulevard.
Times of Segregation
During times of segregation, it was forbidden for the members of the black community that lived on the West side of the tracks, to cross the tracks and into the East side once it got dark. Eventually, Sistrunk Boulevard was named after Dr. James Franklin Sistrunk who was the first African American Doctor to run the only Black hospital in the Fort Lauderdale area at the time. “In 1938, Dr. Sistrunk partnered with Dr. Von Mizell to establish Broward County’s first medical facility for Blacks, Provident Hospital. Provident Hospital was open to every African-American individual within South Florida offering both medical and surgical care… Dr. James Sistrunk was more than just a doctor to his community; he was a friend.” (The Westside Gazette). Dr. Sistrunk served the community for 44 years, and passed in 1966 being a very respected doctor.
The New Experience
Now, at 115 NW 6th Street in Fort Lauderdale, just outside of our great Oakland Park, we can now enjoy a place for gathering to enjoy music, food, and art. The General Manager, Gregory Ricciulli says, “Our idea came about as we wanted to bring something different to our great city of Fort Lauderdale. We became the first Food Hall in Fort Lauderdale. We wanted all our guests to experience what its like to come to Sistrunk Marketplace and have great food, great drinks, and enjoy a great environment that we worked hard to build for all our guests.” And what an environment it is!
The marketplace itself is a 40, 000 square foot space with spaces for up to 20 businesses, office space for the staff, and even houses a DJ Academy where novice to experienced DJ’s have the opportunity to improve on their craft, and even play live right in Sistrunk. Opening only 7 weeks ago, Sistrunk Marketplace is also the future home of the Khoffner Brewery which will serve hand crafted Ales, Lagers and Stouts.
Also on property, you can enjoy endless varieties sure-to-satisfy palates, lifestyle food choices, and the sweet tooth. For Vegans plant-based foods are available. For those who love a good steak, you can also shop for meats cut on sire at the Chop Shoppe Meat Provisions. You can purchase to dine in their stall, or purchase for home. You can enjoy delectable Poke bowls from Poke OG, Nutella crepes from OSOM Crepes, and Heavenly Raw serves plant-based fresh desserts. Kasai and Koori offers Asian inspired treats like Taiyaki Waffles and Taiwanese shaved ice and Japanese kakigori, all with a North Merican twist, as the website describes. Senbazuru Asian Fusion Tapas offers Bento Boxes and Ramen made on site and made the traditional way.
Art and Culture
Other than housing a DJ Academy, Sistrunk offers local artists a place to showcase their works of heart. Local artists have the opportunity to proudly display their creations through out the property. The art may also be found within the “Sistrunk Kollective” Retail Shop. You have the chance to browse the many exceptional artisanal products from jewelry, to succulent flowerpots, to beautiful handmade clothing and face masks.
While you can hear DJ music being played live, Sistrunk Marketplace also has the acoustics to be able to hear live music being played on the other side of the venue without either DJ or band disrupting each other. On any given night that Sistrunk is open, you may hear local artists playing live, like Marcus Amaya. Marcus claims Fort Lauderdale as his hometown. He is a self-taught guitarist and vocalist who fuses rock, hip-hop, reggae, and pop and has been described as “Ed Sheeran and Dirty Heads spiced with Pepper”. Marcus turned a very difficult upbringing into a life of healing through music. He is highly involved in charities and his mission is to spread positivity through music. He can be found on Instagram at marcus_amaya_music. Other local and various artists can be seen and enjoyed playing at Sistrunk.
The COVID-19 Effect
The pandemic wasn’t necessarily a good thing for opening Sistrunk Marketplace, however, it did pave the way for a safe opening, and a deep understanding and practice for safety. General Manager Mr. Gregory Ricciulli says, “We had to make the very best of a bad situation. There was a slight delay [to opening] due to COVID, but in the end we are very happy because it helped us come up with a safe and smart concept to help keep, not just us and our staff safe, but our amazing guests as well!”.
Sistrunk’s General Manager, Gregory, stands by proudly at the way they have handled COVID. All persons interested in dining there must make reservations. All parties must stay under 10 people and all CDC guidelines are observed. All staff members’ temperatures are tested daily, and the marketplace even makes its own hand sanitizer which is placed at each table. Sistrunk is open from Thursday to Sundays for your enjoyment, but you must reserve a table online at http://www.sistrunkmarketplace.com.
Twice a week, the property is given a deep cleaning and inspections to ensure all surfaces are sanitized for the protection of the staff, the vendors, and all guests. The process is very unique, using the company Bio Safe, who’ve been in business for over 35 years.
The process is a two-phase cleansing where all surfaces are cleansed, and nothing is left unsanitized. With foggers, floor polishing machine, and good old elbow grease, Sistrunk is left completely protected. Gregory Ricciulli adds, “I’m happy to be a part of Sistrunk Marketplace from the very beginning, and I look forward to helping creating amazing experiences for all our guests”. You can also browse their touchless menu with the Code reader right from your personal cellphone, so no need to worry about handling menus.
A Place for Us All
No matter what your tastes are, Sistrunk is the place to offer a variety of food and specialty drinks to satisfy all. There’s a little bit of everything to be enjoyed. Make sure to ask for “The 12 Mile”, their in-house specialty drink. It won’t disappoint. Besides the incredible indoor space and scenery, the best part of Sistrunk is that all their foods and drinks are fresh and made to order. You can certainly enjoy the ambiance indoors or enjoy under the sunny Florida sky on their outdoors patio in the front. It’s a place you’ll sure be returning to after your first visit!
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About the Author
Anamaria Moreno is an Elementary school teacher. Born in Costa Rica, but mostly raised in Venezuela, Ms. Moreno came to South Florida in 1996 where she has resided ever since. She graduated from Lynn University, with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She has taught in the classroom for 18 years, most recently teaching the first grade for the past seven years. Before becoming a teacher, Ms. Moreno was involved in volunteer work with the Child Life Specialists Department at Miami Children’s Hospital. She also served as member of the Board of Directors for “A Caring Pregnancy Center” in Miami. Most recently, Ms. Moreno has taught at an elementary school in Oakland Park. Ms. Moreno also teaches ESOL to Adults in Night School. When Ms. Moreno is not in the classroom, she enjoys baking custom specialty cakes, face painting, and enjoys creating Arts and Crafts.
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