Pubbelly Launches La Lechonera Pop-Up

Courtesy of Pubbelly
Pubbelly chef Jose Mendin visits his roots.
The Pubbelly Boys strike again, this time celebrating chef Jose Mendin's Puerto Rican roots at La Lechonera, a lunchtime pop-up at Pubbelly.

Each day from noon to 3 p.m., the pork-centric South Beach restaurant turns into a traditional chinchorro, which is basically a place to get some good booze and bites. It's the Puerto Rican version of a good ol' American dive.

See also: Pubbelly's Andres Schreiner on PB Station: "Miami Hasn't Seen Anything Like It Before"

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December 2014 Restaurant Openings and Closings

Photo by Carla Torres
Scott Conant's Corsair is open.
Welcome to 2015. A new year is bringing several new restaurants, many of them helmed by celebrity chefs.

We're especially looking forward to Tom Colicchio's Beachcraft, Sandbox, and Tom on Collins, all at the 1 Hotel and Homes in South Beach. STK Miami is also poised to open at the same property.

The world's largest Nobu is another hotly anticipated restaurant, along with PB Station from the Pubbelly Boys, Naked Lunch by chef Ralph Pagano, Jamie DeRosa's Izzy's Fish & Oyster, and the Vagabond Restaurant.

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Lucky Strike Closes on South Beach; No Trader Joe's in Sight

Photo by Natalia Molina
Lucky Strike strikes out.
Lucky Strike, the bowling-with-cocktails venue just off Lincoln Road, has closed.

Even though the lease doesn't end until the beginning of 2015, Lucky Strike chose to cancel a planned New Year's Eve party. Yesterday was its last official day.

See also: Jugofresh to Open in Downtown Whole Foods Market

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South Beach Italian Institution Escopazzo Closes

Photo by Zachary Fagenson
It's the end of days for Escopazzo.
The longstanding South Beach Italian haven Escopazzo is no more.

The closure of Giancarla Bodoni's two-decade old restaurant, first reported late last week on, comes as the island remains awash in Italian spots, some better than others. In its absence beachgoers are left with choices like Scarpetta, Macaluso's, Macchialino, Sylvano's just off Collins Avenue, and the recently opened Via Emilia on 15th Street.

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November 2014 Restaurant Openings and Closings

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Courtesy of 27 Restaurant & Bar
27 Restaurant & Bar is now open.
November openings heated up Miami's restaurant scene. In anticipation of Art Basel, establishments clamored to get permits in order and train staff for the rush that comes with the mega week of art and culture.

Notable openings include Seagrape, Crown Room, and 1930's House, all at the Thompson Miami Beach Hotel. The restaurants finally bring chef Michelle Bernstein's talents to Miami Beach. Master mixologist Julio Cabrera also collaborated on the impressive cocktail menus.

Speaking of cocktails, Bar Lab's Gabe Orta and Elad Zvi opened 27 Restaurant & Bar, a charming restaurant in a restored vintage Miami Beach bome, adjacent to their popular Broken Shaker bar.

Not many closings to report except for the short-lived Benchwarmers in midtown and the unexpected and imminent departure of Nemesis Urban Bistro, which is scheduled to close in December.

See also: Nemesis Urban Bistro to Close in December

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Nemesis Urban Bistro to Close in December

Photo by Carina Ost
Nemesis' kangaroo tartare.
Micah Edelstein's funky, soulful downtown restaurant that's become a cult favorite with one-off bites like alligator ribs will close next month.

The shuttering, announced on Nemesis Urban Bistro's Facebook page, comes as Edelstein looks to move on to a new project.

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Benchwarmers Closed, but Fries May Live On at Wood Tavern

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Laine Doss
Benchwarmers' fries live on.
Benchwarmers and Bizerq, the two midtown concepts by Wood Tavern's Cesar Morales, have closed after just a few months in business.

Morales, who issued a statement about the closing on Benchwarmers' Facebook page, tells Short Order that although the restaurant/sports bar was doing well, it closed due to a few factors, including high rent. Benchwarmers was also tied into nightclub Bizerq in the lease, and Morales had to walk away from both, according to the contract. "Benchwarmers wasn't really the problem. If I could have kept Benchwarmers, I would have. Unfortunately, both were on the same lease."

See also: Bizerq and Benchwarmers Closing, "Barely Open a Few Months"

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October 2014 Restaurant Openings and Closings

Photo by Carla Torres
Miami Smokers brings fresh bacon to Miami.
October in Miami is still considered a transitional month. Although the weather is getting better, many restaurants are still working on their progress, hosting family & friends dinners and putting the finishing touches on their menus in anticipation for a late fall opening in time for Art Basel and "season". Places we're looking forward to include Fabio Viviani's Siena Tavern; the Vagabond Restaurant; The Rum Line; and Seagrape at the Thompson Miami Beach (by chef Michelle Bernstein).

Some notable openings in October included Moye, a restaurant by Sardinia Enoteca owners Tony Gallo and Pietro Vardeu; and Miami Smokers, where Miamians can get freshly smoked and cured meats from heritage-breed pigs free of antibiotics and hormones.

Then there was Barley & Swine, the Kendall gastropub that was forced to close due to construction and ventilation issues in its building. Fortunately, owner Jorgie Ramos would not "go gently into that good night" and, with a little ingenuity, reopened his restaurant as Barley & Wich, a sandwich-driven concept with items that require less grill time.

Miami took some hits in the closing department. Taperia Raca, the MiMo tapas restaurant by Eating House's Giorgio Rapicavoli and Alex Casanova, closed abruptly; and Tobacco Road, the iconic bar and restaurant closed after decades and decades of memories. For those of you jonesing for a death burger, the Tobacco Road food truck is operational at the restaurant's parking lot.

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A Look Back at Tobacco Road (Video)

Imagine Tobacco Road as a human being. He (or she) has sold baked goods, illegal booze, played cards with gangsters, sheltered hookers, hosted dance parties, served cocktails, grilled burgers, had tomato fights, and listened to some of the best blues and rock music on the planet. That's a lot of life lived in 102 years.

See also: Tobacco Road Redux: On Land, Sea, and Wheels

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Barley & Swine Closes, Barley & Wich to Open

Courtesy of Barley & Wich
Short rib sandwich on the menu at Barley & Wich.
In what could be called a Barley & Swine kind of pun, Jorgie Ramos, owner of B&S Gastropub (AKA Barley & Swine) is making a purse out of a sow's ear.

The restaurateur/chef closed his Kendall restaurant after the condominium his restaurant was located in began work on improvements that covered up his exhaust system, forcing smoke back into the kitchen. As Ramos told Short Order, "People are complaining of teary eyes. If I have a restaurant filled with smoke, I'll lose my reputation."

See also: Barley & Swine Owner on Possible Closure: "I Have 20 People Working For Me"

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