New meets old Coconut Grove
Panther feels like it's always been there, as if it's one of the Grove's older businesses but it's new and fresh and is crawling with young people. They aren't from the ad agencies, because they have sort of set up shop there with their computers and they spend the day there working like they do at Starbucks and The Bookstore. But it's like the fountain of youth in there and if you sit there long enough, everyone passes through! It almost has a feel of the "old Grove," whatever that is. I just think it's neighborly and old fashioned in a way.
I still like sitting on the rocking chairs outside The Bookstore with friends and kibitz with the passersby, Andy Griffith-style. But I also like sitting at the counter at Panther and enjoy the vibe. It's really a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
There are some great old Coconut Grove photos hanging on the walls at Panther.
Before I realized that the photos were there, my friend Peggy, a Grovite from way back, put an image on Facebook, I didn't know she got it from Panther, I just assumed she came up with it from Google somewhere or that it was from her own personal collection. It's an image of Winn Dixie at the corner of Grand and Virginia taken from the condo building that is at the corner of Virginia and Oak, that building is still there today.
After seeing the photo on Facebook and still not realizing where it came from, I don't know how the subject came up, but I was with another friend at Panther, and I was telling him about the photo. He points to the photo on the wall and says, "You mean that one?" And I turned and there was the photo, right there. I hadn't realized that that's where Peggy got the photo.
The photo, circa 1970, has been in my mind's eye for all these years and it's right there on the wall at the coffee shop. I don't have permission to reproduce the image here, but as you enter, you can see it to the left, near the front window. The scene was just as I remembered it after all these years.
You can see the Mutiny Hotel back on South Bayshore Drive and you can see an old house with a front porch on the spot where The Grove Spot is today on Virginia. I remembered parking in that Winn Dixie lot, I guess my parents did and I was with them in the car, and it is just like it's always been in my mind. Mayfair is at the Winn Dixie location now.
There is another great photo, I can't make out what street it is, but it's a line of stores on a Coconut Grove street and an old car driving by while a hippie-looking guy crosses the street. Classic!
I'm sorry, it's like radio here, trying to describe the image to you, but it's worth a trip for a glance at part of history and a cup of coffee.
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