Eat together. It’s good for you!

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Gathering as a community, family, or group of friends is fun and entertaining. But, dining together is more than just something we do for fun. 

Guests at a long table sharing food from family style platters

Sharing a meal with your tribe, whether that’s your family, friends, colleagues, or organization, offers a great deal more benefits for you in terms of your physical health and your mental well-being than you probably know. 

“Sadly, Americans rarely eat together anymore. In fact, the average American eats one in every five meals in their car, one in four Americans eats at least one fast food meal every single day, and the majority of American families report eating a single meal together less than five days a week. It’s a pity that so many Americans are missing out on what could be meaningful time with their loved ones, but it’s even more than that. Not eating together also has quantifiably negative effects both physically and psychologically.”

The Atlantic

Benefits of eating together are plenty. Here are just a few. 

  • When friends and family have dinner together, they experience a positive e boost in mood and a decrease in stress levels.
  • Kids who eat with their parents regularly tend to feel more connected with their parents and have a more positive outlook on the future. They also develop improved self-esteem.
  • Coming together for a home-cooked meal, no matter what it is, usually offers a more nutritious alternative to restaurant dining, with more veggies, less fried foods, and healthier drink options than sodas.
  • Eating together offers the opportunity to try new foods and more variety in a conversational setting.
  • Eating in company is scientifically proven to increase happiness.

For more benefits, especially pertaining to eating as a family, check out this article on Goodnet.

These benefits do not require that you spend hours in the kitchen or serve organic parsnips. The most essential ingredients for a great family or community dinner are warmth and connection

Colorful platters for sharing at Shabbat Dinner at the Wynwood Yard.
Photo Credit @fujifilmgirll

The Family Dinner Project offers readers a variety of conversation starters that can get interesting dialogue rolling at the dinner table. Make a list of the prompts you like most, and keep them in your back pocket for times when dinnertime conversation can use a little pick-me-up or pizazz. 

Guests at a Shabbat dinner toasting wine glasses
Photo Credit @fujifilmgirl

Some of the conversation starters we like include: 

  • If you were a teacher, and could teach your students anything at all, what would you teach them?
  • If you had superpowers what would they be and how would you use them to help people?
  • If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
  • What are the qualities of a good friend?
  • If you could do anything you wanted for an entire day, how would you spend it?

Find more at The Family Dinner Project.

Our team at Yard Hospitality has been bringing folks together to break bread since we opened our doors at the Wynwood Yard in 2015. 

hands breaking bread together
Photo Credit @fujifilmgirl

Friends and families have gathered, community has been built, and relationships have been formed over the years throughout our many spaces, from the picnic tables at della bowls to the long farm tables under the garden pergola, at pop-up events and catered meals across Miami. 

Our community gathered for meals over the years for a variety of reasons and intentions: Shabbat, Seder, Thanksgiving, Nutritious Nights, Plant-based celebrations, Farm-to-table dinners, and many more.  

Guests engaged in conversation at the communal table enjoying a feast

Chef collaborations have always been a key ingredient in all of our community dinners, as we have welcomed chefs from near and far to bring their magic and spice to our table and to our guests for each and every dinner. 

Partners Susan Cartiglia (Radiate Miami) and Dr. Jared Mait (Pulse and Remedy) brought their nutritional expertise to Nutritious Nights, while Saffron Supper Club’s organizers, Sara Liss and Maude Eaton brought authentic ethnic flair to our Moroccan Shabbat.

An Indian Dinner would not have been as perfect without the Indian Diaspora knowledge and experience of Anita Sharma and Matthew Webb, the couple behind Annam.

Sam Gorenstein, previously chef-owner of Zuuk and My Ceviche, incorporated his Mediterranean twist into the Seder celebration two years in a row, and Matthew Sherman was able to showcase some favorites from his beloved restaurant, Paradigm Kitchen.

These are just to name a few of the amazing collaborations brought to dinners over the years. 

Ladies talking as they taste delicious food while sitting at the communal table.
Photo Credit @fujifilmgirl

And, of course, no dinner would be complete without Zak the Baker’s perfect challah, or creatively crafted local ice creams from Serendipity, Sweet Melody, and Dasher and Crank. 

Community dinners are best served at long communal tables, and the food, family style. Dinners typically begin with an array of mezze, including dips and spreads, pickled vegetables, olives, pita, and other finger foods. It’s always a nice way to whet the appetite with a burst of flavors and textures, and get the hands passing. 

About 20 people sitting at a long communal table.

Some of the favorite items on the mezze over the years were carrot tahini, green tahini, matbucha, and tzatziki. Find the recipes for matbucha here!

Mezze. Variety of colors of dips and spreads in little bowls, ready for service.
Photo Credit @fujifilmgirl

Another favorite on the menu was whole roasted cauliflower, served with green tahini, fresh herbs, and pomegranate seeds. Roasted carrots with coriander-mint sauce, wilted greens with garlic and shallot confit, and Israele couscous with roasted eggplant, red pepper, and pistachios are some examples of side dishes guests enjoyed. 

Guests always gravitate to the vibrant colors of fresh, seasonally-inspired salads. Some favorites included Roasted Beets, Carrots, and Heirloom Tomatoes with Tahini Yogurt, Za’atar, Fresh Herbs, and Pistachios, and Roasted Winter Squash and grilled endive salad with Wild Mushrooms, and spiced maple vinaigrette.

Roasted Beets topped with yogurt and fresh herbs
Photo Credit: Masson Lang
Frisee salad with butternut squash, wild mushrooms, and pumpkin seeds.
Photo Credit @fujifilmgirl

We can’t wait to break bread with our new community at The Doral Yard. We are anxiously awaiting our opportunity to share a delicious meal with you. We look forward to collabotaring with chefs and organizations local to the area, and developing mouth-watering menus that you, your friends and family will love.  

Communal dinners bring us so much joy, and sparks such amazing connection amongst the community. It’s really one of our favorite things to do. 

In the meantime, be sure to make time to eat together. It’s good for your health and it’s nourishing for your soul. 

Guests getting ready to be seated at the communal table as the sun sets


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