This Florida Backyard Dining Experience Has a 2-year Waitlist — Here's How to Score a Reservation
The urban plot — there's a small market down the road and a hodgepodge of residences and housing complexes — is owned in part by its namesake, Regina Rodrigues. Surrounded by towering palms and tall, wooden fencing, you could overlook it. But this cultural hot spot should not be missed.
It has become so buzzworthy, in fact, that it's already booked through July 2024, making it one of the hottest reservations in South Florida, if not the entire state.
So, what makes Regina's Farm so special? It all begins with Rodrigues, her spirit, and her food.
In 1994, she and her husband moved into the residence at 1101 Middle Street, ultimately buying the quaint home with an expansive backyard 10 years later. Each week after church across the street, she'd bring neighbors and friends over for a meal that included gluten-free soups, pão de queijo (tiny cheese bread balls), and other made-from-scratch staples stemming from her Brazilian home state, Minas Gerais.
Eventually, she had a wood stove built in her backyard to make soups. The space blossomed from there, with rows of picnic tables, roaming chickens, and an outdoor kitchen anchoring the urban farm ambience. In 2006, she began hosting informal dinners as church fundraisers, and with local and Brazilian media catching on, momentum quickly built. In 2013, Regina's Farm achieved nonprofit status, further emphasizing that it's less of a restaurant and more of a nonprofit experience.
The familial vibe today is as equally intriguing as the homecooked fare.
There are bubble machines for kids, colorful banners and bistro lights draped above, a fire pit for roasting marshmallows, and picnic tables for lounging. Regina's Farm, which can host up to 140 guests, is open for dinner "some Saturdays and some Sundays" by reservation only. Today, Rodrigues has a team of 11 helping her prepare the feasts.
For $55, it's an all-you-can-eat affair, with seven types of Brazilian soups, oxtail, yucca, chicken wings, and 15 kinds of desserts, among several other baked dishes. Reservations can be made by sending Rodrigues' son, Matthew, a text message or via the Regina's Farm Facebook page. (The cost is $25 for children.)
To date, Rodrigues estimates they've raised more than $60,000 for her church. Regina's Farm is also the site of private fundraisers, recently supporting Broward College scholarships and, in 2019, benefitting the victims of the Parkland school shooting.
As for pro tips on how to snag a reservation in a pinch or before the two-plus-year mark? Rodrigues tells Travel + Leisure, "Ask Matthew to put you on our waiting list. Sometimes, groups cancel and things happen. He will call you if there's an opening." She added with a sincere and motherly laugh, "Otherwise, be nice to and a friend of Matthew."