Estefans Close Bongos at AmericanAirlines Arena, Focus on New Restaurant Downtown

Thumbnail image for Bongosphoto2.jpeg
Photo by Natalia Molina
Bongos Cuban Café on Biscayne to close.
Bongos Cuban Cafe in downtown Miami, owned by Gloria and Emilio Estefan, is closing after 15 years of business at the AmericanAirlines Arena.

The lease will come to term at the end of June, at which point the Estefans will focus on developing their property in downtown Miami, Miami.com reports. Although the restaurant will no longer be open, the Bongos brand will remain involved with the arena through its concession.

"We have really enjoyed our association with Bongos and the Estefans. They have been great tenants, and we wish them the very best in their future endeavors," said Eric Woolworth, president of the Heat Group Business Operations. "They will continue to be part of the Heat family by staying involved at the arena through the Bongos carts on the concourses and the Miami Heat Rhythm Section."

See also: Larios on the Beach: New Spin on Cuban Classics

Since its opening, Bongos has catered to the post-Heat game crowd with its convenient location adjacent to the AmericanAirlines Arena. It is known for its authentic Cuban cuisine and signature mojitos.

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Courtesy of Estefan marketing director Ana Ordonez
Rendering of building that will feature upscale dining and retail.

The Bongos locations in Orlando and Hollywood will remain open, and there are negotiations for an opening in Las Vegas. Bongos also will keep its location at the South Terminal of Miami International Airport. Bongos employees, several of which have been there since the company's start, will transfer to the other locations.

The closing of Bongos coincides with the reopening of Larios on the Beach, the Estefans' South Beach restaurant. They reopened the South Beach restaurant with an updated look and a revamped menu. Larios' reopening signifies a new direction for the famous culinary couple, who are also channeling their efforts into a new, upscale restaurant, Estefan Kitchen, which is set to open in downtown Miami.

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Location Info

Larios on the Beach

820 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL

Category: Music

Bongos Cuban Café - CLOSED

601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL

Category: Music

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66 comments
Frank Castle
Frank Castle

Hey new times based on the comments here I do not think this is a popular story

Frank Castle
Frank Castle

That place sucks just like the owner Gloria Estefan sucks

Andy Solares
Andy Solares

That place sucked balls anyways...I don't know anyone who's been there in the last 5 years

Sergio F. Maldonado
Sergio F. Maldonado

Good to know I didn't miss out on something good....always thought of this place as an overpriced and overhyped locale with bad food and watered down drinks...just like most of the clubs and restaurants around that area...

Go Go Mo
Go Go Mo

Whass up with the nite club? Loved the skimpy dresses

Trevor Gaffney
Trevor Gaffney

Soon to be Arisons Carnival Cafe which will pay no rent and receive a subsidy from our esteemed leaders

Miami New Times
Miami New Times

Brad, yes, we post story our popular stories from the week over the weekend. We've been doing this for a over a year now.

Brad Beaty
Brad Beaty

Anyone else notice that the New Times has been posting stories twice?

Joseph Mazon
Joseph Mazon

Spare us the propaganda Miami New Times, were you PAID for this article? Bongo's has always sucked, the Bongo's at the Hard Rock sucks, it offers mediocre , if not lousy supposedly Cuban food. ANYBODY in town knows you can get OUTSTANDING Cuban food for $8 a plate at any hole in the wall in Hialeah, with far better quality than Bongo's could ever offer. This brand has been and will ALWAYS be an embarrassment to this community and the hard-working Estefan couple. Lario's on the other hand is not bad at all, and should be emphasized., but Gloria and Emilio, whoever is running Bongo's for YOU? Should be fired yesterday and all Bongo's should be closed permanently unless you can find a competent person to run them and provide authentic Cuban food at good prices.

Carlos Rosario
Carlos Rosario

Fantastic the place sucks so much that I was ecstatic when I was ask to leave on my very first visit.

Larry Herrero
Larry Herrero

Tourist trap and balsero nest. Good riddance.

Camille Moses
Camille Moses

The roaches were talking shit about Gloria!!!

giarodri
giarodri

Larios opened in 1992, not bongos.

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