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Miami's Newest Coffee Shop Serves Art With Your Java

Mad Chiller

At Mad Chiller, a pop-up coffee-shop-cum-art-gallery, culture is on the menu alongside locally roasted coffee and organic liege waffles.

The Mad Chiller coffee chariot – not to be mistaken for an ordinary cart – has been rolling into local arts events for nearly two years, but now the chariot will become immobile. Mad Chiller will be taking up permanent residence at the Miami Center for Architecture and Design on Sept. 12.

The chariot was originally designed as a mobile art gallery as part of Mad Chiller's brew walls initiative, which uses handcrafted partitions as displays for local artists to showcase and sell their work.

Credit Mo Hoffmann Studios / Courtesy
Artist Scott Hendler, pictured with the communal table at Zak the Baker, builds Mad Chiller's brew walls.

“The Mad Chiller coffee chariot was made to accommodate our mobile concept. Chariots are made for battle, but also for pulling things forward,” says Williams, referencing how he and Miller hope to pull artists and organizations out of the proverbial shadows and into the Miami sunlight.

The walls are built by Miami sculptor Scott Hendler, who also designed the rustic-style communal table currently in use at Zak the Baker in Wynwood.

“Miami is such a transient and evolving city; I thought a pop-up café showcasing local arts and culture was perfect,” Hendler recalls. “My next thought was, how much would they let me push the creative envelope?”

Hendler was allowed to shove that envelope, since promoting Miami artists is Mad Chiller’s raison d’etre -- perhaps secondary only to providing good java.

Williams and Miller have ridden their chariot to events thrown by local organizations such as History Miami, the Borscht Film Festival, Zoo Miami, McCormick Place, and the City of Miami Arts and Business Council. Mad Chiller “pops up” at these events, creating opportunities for local artists by providing them with a space to display and sell their work, and supporting local cultural organizations in the process.

Williams says the brew walls -- one of which is currently on display at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Wynwood, and the other which will be permanently on display at MCAD as of tomorrow -- will be curated and exhibited every three to four months.

“One thing I hear all the time from artists is that their greatest hardship is selling their work,” Williams says. “We created the brew walls specifically for that.”

Drink free coffee during the Mad Chiller grand opening celebration on Friday, September 12, at MCAD, 100 NE First Ave., Miami, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.