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South Beach Italian Institution Escopazzo Closes

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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 Miami.com, 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

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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

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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

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

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Courtesy of Jorge Ramos
B&S Gastropub: Construction is killing business.
UPDATE: B&S Gastropub has, indeed closed. According to Jorgie Ramos, "We closed the doors last night. We're hoping it's just temporart, but not sure." Stay tuned for updates to this story.

Kendall's B&S Gastropub's owner Jorgie Ramos is in a bitter feud with the condominium his restaurant is located in after building owners initiated repairs that are impeding with the restaurant's ability to operate properly, Eater reports.

Ramos said the restaurant, popularly known as Barley & Swine, is filled with smoke due to construction that has covered up the restaurant's exhaust system. The chef/owner says that the blockage is "forcing all the smoke back into the kitchen" and that customers have been complaining of smelling smoke and tearing eyes. Ramos explains that the outside and inside pressure is sucking the fresh air out and all the smoke back in.

See also: Barley & Swine, Faced With Trademark Infringement Allegation, Changes Name to B&S Gastropub

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Taperia Raca Now Closed; Owners "Received an Offer for the Location They Could Not Turn Down"

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Photo by billwisserphoto.com
Giorgio Rapicavoli
Taperia Raca, the Spanish tapas joint launched earlier this year in MiMo by Giorgio Rapicavoli and Alex Casanova, is closed.

According to a news release, the owners received an offer on the property they couldn't refuse. The team, however, says this isn't the end of Raca and is planning to look for a new locale.

See also: Taperia Raca: Spanish Tapas on the Upper Eastside

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Tobacco Road Closing on October 25, Kickstarter Campaign to Relocate Iconic Bar Starts Next Week

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Courtesy of Tobacco Road
Last call for Tobacco Road.
For over a century it was the home of bootleggers, gangsters, hookers, musicians, and people just in need of booze and a burger.

Now, come sunrise October 26, Tobacco Road, the oldest bar I n Miami, is closing its colorful doors. Starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 25, the Road will host a closing party that will last all night. At 5 a.m., the bar will announce a final last call, shuttering a true Miami icon.

See also: Tobacco Road Celebrates 101 Years With $1.01 Burgers and Drinks


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