Uncle Tom's Barbecue Closed: Building Deemed Unsafe

uncletomsign.jpg
Laine Doss
Uncle Tom's: Iconic restaurant closed for renovation.
It's one of the very last vestiges of Old Florida. The Uncle Tom's Barbecue sign has shown hungry travelers on the Tamiami Trail the way to smoked meat since it opened around 1948 with a name that probably wasn't so ironic back in the day.

The walls of the restaurant were plastered with photos of beauty queens and movie stars such as Rita Hayworth, along with photos of more recent Latin heartthrobs. The log cabin-themed restaurant saw many changes in the neighborhood and ownership, with the current owners adding both Latin and generic dishes, such as lechon with rice and beans and mozzarella sticks, to the menu.

A recent visit to the restaurant was underwhelming. The wine was presented in an unopened plastic bottle, the chicken was a little dry, and the vegetables were overcooked. Still, the restaurant was a time warp and a place to visit every once in a while if only for the nostalgia.

See also: Best Barbecue 2007: Uncle Tom's Barbecue

uncletomnotice.jpg
Laine Doss
Driving recently on the "Trail," we noticed the welcoming neon of the Uncle Tom's sign was off. A large banner informed passersby that the restaurant was renovating. A "Notice to Vacate" sign was placed on the front door, issued by Miami-Dade County because the building is unsafe.

A series of violations were also listed, including hazardous electrical or mechanical installations, unsanitary conditions due to inadequate or malfunctioning sanitary facilities or waste disposal systems, work done without permit or with expired permit, and fire or windstorm hazard.

The notice also recommended that the main CBS structure be repaired or demolished and the metal-and-wood frame structure, presumably the patio, be demolished.

As of August 26, the restaurant's Facebook page said, "Get Ready... We're coming back strong."

Let's hope so, if only to restore one of the oldest remnants of Miami culinary history.

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Location Info

Uncle Tom's Barbecue

3988 SW 8th St., Coral Gables, FL

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
14 comments
Some_Dude
Some_Dude

I went to this place in May. It was before the renovation, but after they recent change in ownership. The manager was discussing how bad the menu was under the previous ownership and said they were testing some new recipes. I had the ribs and they were hands down the best ribs I've ever had in Miami. Hope this place re-opens soon.

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sarah.robinson550

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pingerced121

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Live Bee Removal
Live Bee Removal

not only that i have gotten food poisoning from there ..

Gregg Rory Holland
Gregg Rory Holland

I was born and raised in South Florida and I've never even heard of this place.

Pedro M Ross
Pedro M Ross

I remember when I was a kid 30 + years ago, and my family would bring to see our Cuban family, and I use to imagine what that place was like. I guess we should have ate there then, because I've heard that the last few years the quality all disappeared. I'm a Cuban American, and proud. But man, customer service handled by Cubans and other Latinos in Miami is so bad. There is this constant attitude problem, in food service places, all over Miami

Sonia V Diaz
Sonia V Diaz

Good riddance. As a Texan, I am offended that this place claimed to sell BBQ. Check it out Stephanie.

Lex Martin
Lex Martin

Finally. The old American management was much more efficient.

Andrew J. Herrero
Andrew J. Herrero

Yeah this place was great back in the day when some old American people owned it and served real BBQ. Not going to miss the food they currently serve there, but not seeing that sign on 8th street after all of these years will be kind of strange.

Diana Sempere
Diana Sempere

I hope they renovate their menu too! It all went south when the new owners changed the menu a few years back.

outofbounds1
outofbounds1

@Sonia V Diaz As someone from North Carolina, I agree with you. ;)

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