Food News

The Wilder Hosts Pop-Up to Help Hurting Bars and Food Trucks Get Back to Business

The Wilder opens its doors to shuttered bars and food trucks victimized by COVID-19.
The Wilder opens its doors to shuttered bars and food trucks victimized by COVID-19. Photo by Marina Poupart
click to enlarge The Wilder opens its doors to shuttered bars and food trucks victimized by COVID-19. - PHOTO BY MARINA POUPART
The Wilder opens its doors to shuttered bars and food trucks victimized by COVID-19.
Photo by Marina Poupart
One Fort Lauderdale establishment is hoping to make a positive difference for bars that have been unable to operate amid ongoing restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Every Monday for the foreseeable future, the Wilder lounge in Fort Lauderdale will present its "In the Biz" pop-up, offering its space to bars and food trucks and their furloughed employees. The invite is open to any local Palm Beach, Broward, or Miami-Dade-based establishment looking to get back to business.

The Wilder's manager, Tamara Jovanovic, says the idea is to invite bars that have been closed for the past five months to take over for one night, allowing their out-of-work employees to do what they love, make a little money, and connect with their regulars to keep their establishment relevant.

"This pandemic has been the worst thing to happen to our industry since prohibition," Jovanovic tells New Times. "We wanted to do something to help others since we are fortunate to be able to open."


The first popup to take over the Wilder was nearby Rhythm & Vine, on August 3. The following week the lounge turned over the spotlight to Fort Lauderdale's Hub Lounge. Buoyed by the response to both events, the Wilder team officially announced that it would open itself up to other businesses unable to operate.

Via the popup, establishments are able to bring their own flair to the space, Jovanovic says. Every Monday, the featured business can display merchandise, play its own music, and even assist the Wilder staff in selecting the night's accompanying food-truck fare.

Most important, however, they're able to provide guests with their own menu of specialty or signature cocktails served up by their own bartenders and staff.

"Each popup brings whatever it is they are known for," Jovanovic says. "They can wear their bar uniforms or bring any promo items they want. For many of them, it will be the first time the 'family' is coming together in nearly six months."

To ensure there's enough room for customers both new and familiar to attend each popup, the Wilder recently redesigned its space to comply with local restrictions and guidelines, setting up additional tables and seating inside and outdoors, on the patio and in the parking lot, to ensure safe social-distancing.


This week's pop-up (Monday, August 17) features the Booze Garden and the Greek food truck on. Next Monday, August 24, brings Blondie's and the Hummingbird Table.

Business owners interested in learning more about participating in future "In the Biz" pop-ups should email info@intothewilder.com or call 954-683-9453.

"So far, the industry pop-up has been a huge success," Jovanovic says. "We'll be here to help as long as the need is there."

The Wilder. 701 E. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-683-9453; intothewilder.com.
KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.
Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna