Lots of changes taking place; good changes
Spartico at the Mayfair Hotel and Spa finally got their outside seating on Virginia Street, shown here. It's been years in the making. When the sidewalks were recently redone, they filled in two parking spaces to allow for the tables. The city was already out there measuring and doing their pesky things like they do. I'm sure the cab drivers aren't thrilled (that's where they used to park and wait for hotel fares), but we are.
I thought it was funny that people may mistake Ling Chow the hair salon next door, for a restaurant because of the tables outside and the "chow" in the name.
Lasso the Moon will be moving into the former Improv space. Lasso the Moon is an event planner and caterer. They are now known for their Typsy Mermaid weekends where they serve the best of the best in seafood. They should have plenty of room for outdoor seating at their new location at the Mayfair Promenade. They are moving from Main Highway.
Speaking of Main Highway, a couple of doors down is Panther Coffee which is now advertising for employees for their new location, so look for them to open soon, the space inside looks almost complete. Not so much for Harry's Pizzeria. They're still dragging their heels. Both are part of the Engle Building owned by Arquitectonica.
Word is that a hotel is going in behind the building. Some say it will be a few stories high, some say it will match the height of the Sonesta. No comment from Arquitectonica when I reached out to them.
LoKal has a new restaurant opening across from the new Lasso the Moon space at the Mayfair Promenade. It's a seafood place going into a former gallery space, which was a former fast food chicken space. Stay tuned.
I met a guy who owns Cuban restaurants in New York, upscale restaurants. He was at one of the gallery walks a few months ago. Since then, he's been searching for restaurant space in the Grove in order to open a Cuban restaurant. He was interested in the former TK's space on Florida Avenue, but Bombay Darbar hopped on that space right away and hopefully they'll open next month. Our friends at FrameWorks bought their building, and in June they will start making changes - they will move the frame shop and gallery upstairs and are looking for a restaurant to rent the whole bottom floor, right on the corner of Grand and Commodore, an excellent location. Maybe the Cuban place will be interested.
I read an erroneous comment here in the Grapevine saying that Bombay Darbar was forced to vacate their former space on Commodore to make way for the new restaurant taking over the corner there called Farinelli 1937, because it's a Sarnoff friend who pushed them out. That's not true. Bombay Darbar never had a decent kitchen and this was their chance to grab a super kitchen. When their rent went up, they jumped on it. Plus we all know they needed lots more seating space. By the way, Farinelli 1937 is owned by Maurizio Farinelli, who owns Strada, across the street. It will be a pizza-style place with not only pizza, but pasta, salads, etc.
That one area of Florida Avenue down to Grand Avenue with the Promenade in between seems like it's the new restaurant row in Coconut Grove. Add the Bookstore and Blond Tulip who are both mobbed at lunch time daily, and add The Grove Spot and we really have something great going on in that end of town.
What I do find very interesting is that those who are are moving are moving inside the Grove, they could easily leave the Grove and head to any other entertainment district in Miami, but they want to stay put. And others who are opening a second location, are opening it up inside the Grove, where they too, can easily go anywhere else. It's very interesting to think about. They believe in Coconut Grove.
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