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Garcia's

What's Good In Your Hood
Serving seafood on Miami's waterfront since 1966, find out what makes this iconic spot fresh as ever. Plus, singer Amara la Negra takes us on a real tour of her childhood home.
Show transcript
00:07
My father's a fisherman.
00:09
I got huge shoes to fill.
00:11
I sell fish to everybody.
00:12
I have seen the cops and the criminals having lunch here and
00:16
they were like when we're done, you can chase me again.
00:21
We dining in a take out it's real people cooking that we are
00:26
our winner.
00:27
And the she you laugh like your finger is good because we're
00:30
about to see what's good in and later uh will share her slice
00:43
of Miami with us.
00:45
Oh Yeah.
00:45
What's good in your hood is about the trail blazers that transform
00:49
a community through their passions.
00:51
And today we're in the 305 Miami to meet a family that's a pillar
00:56
to the city's vibrant river culture.
00:58
What's up?
00:59
We're in Miami at Garcia's seafood grill and fish market.
01:02
It's a legend, dairy Miami spot that sells the freshest seafood
01:05
from Bo to table Luis Garcia and his family are keeping a dream
01:09
alive, started by Esteban Garcia.
01:12
And let me tell you the seafood is next level good.
01:16
Everything is good here because I see it coming in fresh and
01:20
to me the freshest, the better, the way they treat you here
01:24
with Maria get any better.
01:27
If you've never been here before, you have to try to crack con
01:30
You also have to try the salmon with yellow rice and sweet.
01:34
My name is Carlos J.
01:35
I am the mayor of Miami Dade County.
01:38
I've been to Garcia's.
01:39
I can tell you how many times I've been to Garcia's.
01:41
I get different things.
01:42
I'll get the, you know, we call it dolphin down here.
01:44
Sometimes grilled, sometimes fried.
01:46
But uh it's always good right on the ocean.
01:49
There's a rich history of fishing culture and seafood in Miami
01:52
and Garcia's and the Miami River is at the center serving no
01:57
frill seafood since 1966 grilled shrimp caesar salad.
02:04
And that is how you grill shrimp, people.
02:10
Good job Garcia.
02:11
These are easily top three.
02:13
No, top two, not guys.
02:15
This is the best conch fr I've ever had Esteban Garcia, a river
02:21
pioneer has left a void since his passing, but he had a dream
02:26
being kept alive by his family.
02:29
My name is Luis Garcia.
02:30
This is Garcia seafood.
02:32
Uh My family restaurant we first started in 1966 and my family
02:36
was actually a fishing family.
02:37
They would fish and then they would sell the fish.
02:39
And so when the revolution started, my dad just said, let's
02:42
get out of here because this is gonna get worse.
02:44
My dad came over here, didn't know what else to do.
02:47
Figured that he was a fisherman.
02:50
So he got near the river.
02:51
Then my father talked to my mom into starting a restaurant
02:54
This was a horrible area.
02:56
I have seen the cops and the criminals having lunch here.
03:01
What menu item?
03:02
Put you guys on the map.
03:04
I would say the fried yellow tail, the whole fried yellow tail
03:07
And then of course, the dolphin sandwich was a big thing when
03:10
people asked me, oh, what's your favorite dish?
03:12
And I'm like, why complicate things?
03:14
Forget about sauces, forget about adding this, forget about
03:17
adding that.
03:17
Just get the whole fish fried.
03:20
My dad would be so happy if you just got the whole fish fried
03:23
because that's the only item he really wanted on the menu.
03:25
We're the opposite of fancy.
03:28
We would like for you to be able to come here in flip flops.
03:32
But if you wanna come here in a soup, we like that too.
03:37
Our DNA, you can't fake it.
03:40
There's nothing fake about showing somebody what we are.
03:44
I stopped trying to fight that a long time ago.
03:46
Later, 305 native Amara La Negra will share her slice of Miami
03:51
with us through hard work.
03:54
The Garcias have been able to forge a thriving business, a
03:57
torch lit by the father and proudly being carried by the family
04:00
and the tough as nails.
04:01
Mother Maria Luisa, who after 50 years remains working to
04:05
this day, my father, he got to this country with zero, right
04:08
You didn't even speak English I got huge shoes to fill.
04:12
I didn't really understand what my father was doing.
04:17
I left and, and I only came back when my father was very, very
04:22
sick.
04:23
Dad passed away how long ago it was 13 years.
04:26
It seems like it was yesterday.
04:28
He was an old school guy with old school kind of principles
04:34
My dad never wanted change.
04:35
He wanted it to be the same.
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They don't complicate things.
04:38
Keep it simple.
04:40
Um Just fry the fish and give it to people.
04:42
They're gonna eat it, they're gonna love it.
04:43
I was more of a punk than I should have been and I, I should have
04:45
been more grateful or I should have been more understanding
04:48
of, of why he wasn't at my baseball game.
04:50
All the credit goes to my mom.
04:53
My mom has fought so hard.
04:56
I'll tell you how tough she is when I was in Little League, she
04:58
was the lady that would put her fingers through the fence and
05:03
be like, hey, grow some balls.
05:06
I just come from the Garcia family and that's how we were raised
05:10
She's incredibly fierce.
05:12
She came from AAA country that got everything taken from them
05:30
So thank you so much as I'm coming to find out there's many different
05:58
sides of Miami that are unknown to the public to get more insight
06:02
on her experience.
06:03
I connected with Miami native breakout star and proud Afro
06:07
Latina Negra for a closer look.
06:10
My mom is a chef.
06:12
No way.
06:13
She's actually had three restaurants in the past here in Miami
06:16
I mean, but you grew up with really good food.
06:18
I grew up so busy in my career, you know, modeling, acting,
06:22
singing, traveling, doing all these other things.
06:24
I never really bothered to sit down and be like, ok, I wanna
06:26
learn how to cook.
06:27
Like, no, not to mention that my mom always hated to see me in
06:31
the kitchen.
06:33
She always felt like if you grow the same passion that I have
06:36
for the kitchen, you're gonna end up being a cook like me and
06:39
I don't want that.
06:40
So any time she saw me there she's like, like, get out.
06:43
So then I just kind of like, didn't have a calling for it, but
06:47
I have a colleague for eating.
06:48
How about you?
06:49
How is that?
06:50
A million is good?
06:51
I'm gonna try some.
06:53
Mhm.
06:56
All right.
06:57
Oh, hello.
06:57
We got it.
06:58
Ok.
06:58
You have a big boat.
07:00
That's so funny.
07:00
My mom had four jobs.
07:02
She used to work in a restaurant in the morning, come out of
07:06
that one, go to the next job.
07:08
And then on the weekends she worked in mcdonald's and she cleaned
07:11
houses and I used to go with her and help her clean and she got
07:16
an additional job just to be able to pay for all my singing and
07:18
dance classes and all that stuff.
07:20
And so I'm grateful for that.
07:21
That's why everything that I do, I do it, I do it for her.
07:24
What is Miami to you when I close my eyes and I think of Miami
07:28
I think of Cuban coffee screaming through the window you
07:39
wanna eat or whatever, whatever going to the flea market was
07:42
a really important part of my life.
07:43
I, I miss that too.
07:44
You know what I mean?
07:45
Getting the chicken wings in the corner store, getting on
07:48
the, on the metro rail, whatever hood do you wanna take me to
07:51
I'm down.
07:53
Ok, guys don't go anywhere because when we come back, I'm gonna
07:55
learn how to make something.
07:56
Not even on the menu.
07:59
Miami is a vibrant, hotbed for some of the most interesting
08:02
and complex cultures the country has to offer and the Miami
08:06
River is adding to that conversation today, Louis is going
08:09
to show me how to make some Yellowtail and it's not even on the
08:12
menu.
08:12
It's mango week here in Miami.
08:14
So of course it came to my mind that maybe we should use some
08:17
of these mangoes for our dish.
08:18
Our freshest fish today is a yellow tail snapper.
08:21
What we do is we get a little butter and then we get our seasoning
08:26
It has a little bit of everything and the key is the grill being
08:33
clean, super hot and there you go.
08:40
I promise you, it's gonna be the best fish you ever had in your
08:43
life.
08:43
I promise you first of all.
08:45
I cut the mango and then I puree the mango and that's pure mango
08:50
sauce and then the diced mango on top.
08:58
I promise you it will not get any better than that.
09:02
Yeah.
09:02
Yeah.
09:02
Yeah.
09:02
This looks amazing and make sure I get a piece that has a good
09:07
amount of mango sauce on it.
09:12
Wow.
09:13
It's so, so, so good.
09:14
And I mean, the secret here is obviously how fresh the fish
09:17
is and how fresh the mangoes are.
09:18
Let's call it the What's good in the hood special?
09:21
The what's good in your hood special?
09:22
Sounds pretty good to me.
09:23
We can do that and it certainly tastes like what's good in your
09:26
hood for a look at where the family business started.
09:29
Luis took me to the original dock where his dad opened shop
09:33
This is where my father came to set up shop when they got kicked
09:36
out of Cuba and he came to the river and looked for a place that
09:40
he can start fishing again.
09:42
We're literally blocks away from the entrance of the river
09:45
in the bay.
09:46
So our fishermen can be out in the ocean within 30 to 40 minutes
09:50
This is the life force of my business because all of these boats
09:54
bring us our seafood on a daily basis.
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The boats pull up and you can just order your seafood as it gets
10:01
put on ice.
10:09
I got to be me.
10:11
How you doing?
10:13
So what happens typically is these guys get here at about four
10:15
o'clock in the afternoon and before you know, it, it's three
10:19
or four in the morning and they're back on the boat.
10:21
So they don't even make it back to wherever they live.
10:24
And I appreciate these guys for who they are.
10:25
They're good people.
10:29
About 45 45.
10:33
Everybody know the river.
10:35
Maybe.
10:36
Free funeral home, free any fisherman, die old man.
10:41
No money.
10:42
He called the funeral home.
10:43
I pay for everybody.
10:46
Thank you.
10:48
Um So we're the last of the Breed fishing businesses along
10:53
the river.
10:54
This is the city of Miami's riverside center is where all the
10:58
politicians have offices.
11:01
People think Miami is just south beach and like half naked
11:04
women and Suntan lotion.
11:06
But it's a lot of really hard working people too.
11:09
This is actually the only Miami that I know.
11:12
I didn't know about that other one.
11:13
Where's that at?
11:14
I want to go to that Miami.
11:18
I know in boats just like this one.
11:21
But it does bring me a nostalgic feeling when I'm on a boat like
11:24
this respect for these people 100%.
11:28
I love these guys because it's part of my DNA and of who we are
11:31
as a family.
11:32
So this is my hood after some seafood loving at Garcia's, we
11:44
headed to experience a neighborhood just minutes away.
11:48
We're on our way to a and it's predominantly Dominican.
11:53
Yes, it is.
11:54
I'm Dominican.
11:55
I'm Afro Latina.
11:57
Um but I sound a little Cuban.
12:00
I'm associated obviously with the African American um community
12:04
but I'm very Latina.
12:05
It's, I guess it can be a little bit confusing to some people
12:08
but I grew up in Miami where there's just so much culture.
12:12
OK.
12:13
So let's go check out your house.
12:15
Yes, this was your first house in Brownsville.
12:18
Yes.
12:18
Actually it was my mom's first house.
12:21
My mom worked so hard.
12:22
She gathered up some money and she was able to put the down payment
12:25
for this house and she was so proud of it because it was her first
12:29
house.
12:30
And why did you move from this house?
12:31
We lost it.
12:33
Our house went on for closure and my mom couldn't afford it
12:36
That must have just been so, so, so sad for your mom.
12:38
It really was because my mom worked so hard to have this house
12:41
and to lose it.
12:42
You know, it was devastating for her.
12:44
But um you know, years later now I, you know, I was able to buy
12:47
my mom a house, be able to buy your momma house.
12:49
It's crazy.
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I, I just bought her one and I'm working on the second one.
12:54
Obviously, a lot of things have changed.
12:56
There's a lot of fresh paint and a lot of new trees.
13:00
But for the most part, this is it, there's a reason why so many
13:04
talented people come out of these environments because it
13:09
almost forces you to find way out.
13:11
I love being able to come back because it just reminds me of
13:14
my journey and all the things that I had to do to get to where
13:16
I am today and you got out and you're still thriving and doing
13:20
big things.
13:21
Amen.
13:21
Come on.
13:22
Let's take a treat.
13:22
You never been to the Metro.
13:23
Oh my God.
13:24
This is so late.
13:25
Like this used to be like the thing.
13:26
Let me show you.
13:28
So this is the futures of Garcia.
13:31
This is the wharf.
13:32
What is the war wharf is an outdoor event space.
13:36
We throw events Thursday through Sunday and we have uh DJ S
13:41
we have live music.
13:43
Uh We have all kinds of things here.
13:45
The wharf to me seems like it's the evolution of it is, this
13:49
is the raw bar concept that we put together.
13:53
I'm bringing you to the area that years from now will be where
13:59
Garcia started and evolved into and became what my father's
14:05
dream was the Miami River.
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And Garcia is a place to venture if you want to feel and taste
14:11
the hard work of a family that has fought to move forward through
14:14
struggle, loss and towards keeping a dream alive through
14:18
a changing neighborhood.
14:19
Garcia has withstood the test of time like a rise tide, meeting
14:23
the shore.
14:24
The city is catching up to Garcia's vision of the river culture
14:29
Miami can be thankful for a simple fisherman's vision of the
14:32
world offering a simple taste of the ocean to hungry locals
14:36
And that's what's good in your hood next time on what's good
14:43
in your hood.
14:43
We're heading to Las Highland Park where we'll explore this
14:47
historic neighborhood's iconic spot with Highland Park
14:50
rapper Reverie and Roxy Diaz L A.