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Jan 13, 2008 10:16 PM

A Find on Miami's Dining Past

I thought this was interesting... I wasn't in Miami back in 1987, but this is a neat and a well written article. Makes me realize that we have gone a long way, and yet, we're still aiming for more, 20 years later. The funny thing is that much of what happened in 1987 seems to be happening again during 2007, with the ascent of the Design District's emerging role as a culinary hotspot replicating South Beach's ascent 20 years ago.

Here's the link:

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  1. Should I be embarrassed to admit that I once ate at most of those restaurants? I actually really liked the Wet Paint Cafe...

    10 Replies
    1. re: karmalaw

      Mia - good find. I still remember those days when all the hotels along Ocean Drive were basically old folks' homes. I recall walking along there - I think the Cardozo and the Carlysle were among the first buildings that were restored - and wondering how all this fantastic oceanfront property could be so underutilized.

      Karma - Wet Paint Cafe is where Douglas Rodriguez (Yuca, Patria NY, now Ola, etc.) got started, in case you didnt' know. So you had good taste even back then.

      1. re: Frodnesor

        Actually, Wet Paint Cafe was where Pacific Time was later -- not where Ola is now...

        1. re: karmalaw

          I didn't (mean to) say it's in the space where Ola is - it's where chef Douglas Rodriguez, who later started Yuca, Patria, and Ola, got his start.

          1. re: Frodnesor

            ah.. sorry.

            I have been no fan of yuca through... I still remember a friend ready to lob his $20 papa relleno across the room at yuca (aimed at a server) due to the very poor service there.

            1. re: karmalaw

              It's been a very long time since Rodriguez was at Yuca so don't hold him responsible. Did you ever go when it was in Coral Gables (if I recall right, at the location where Graziano's currently is)?

              1. re: Frodnesor

                yes -- but they weren't were graziano's market is now.. they were... in the middle of a block.. I think south of miracle mile....

                I was also at their south beach location when they first opened.

                Neither really did much for me.

                1. re: karmalaw

                  Not the Graziano's market, the restaurant on the corner of LeJeune and Giralda (I must not be communicating well today!). Here's a ghostly remnant of the old Yuca addres (which is now the Graziano's Gables location) ->


                  1. re: Frodnesor

                    nope -- it wasn't there - it might have subsequently moved there -- but, it didn't start out there. During most of the late 80's and the 90's Giacosa occupied the spot where graziano's restaurant is now.

                    ahaha: I just found an article that substantiates this:


                    1. re: karmalaw

                      You are correct, sir. (Don't actually know if you're a sir - just using the Ed McMahon voice). Though I'm right too - Yuca also was in the Giralda/LeJeune location too. Though, just to confuse things further, I have a recollection of Giacosa being in a different location as well - in a different corner space somewhere south of Miracle Mile.

                      One thing is for sure - Douglas Rodriguez has moved around a bunch.

                      1. re: Frodnesor

                        it's... sir-ette. ;-o oh wait, I suppose that's "Miss".

                        I started going to Giacosa early on.. never remember it being other than Giralda. One of their former managers has been the manager at Rosinella's downtown for years -- I'll ask him.

    2. Thank you very much for posting that blast from the past! about a walk down memory lane. WPC was the BOMB! Who out there remembers Key East on Lincoln? Oh man I miss that was near Rustica.

      YUCA originally was on Giralda...they then moved to sobe, then tried to resurrect it in the Gables on the corner of LeJeune where Giacosa was...the later I know for sure, what I am not absolutely sure about is where exactly it was originally in the Gables, but I thought it was on Giralda's restaurant row? The resurrection did not last long mind fact I cannot beleive the sobe store still exists!

      There used to be a great Italian restaurant where WPC was, I want to say it was called Micheals? No, can that be? It was good, really good.

      The Tropics International on tenth and Ocean was the BEST! The food was dreadful, but the stage behind the bar always seemed to attract the celebs. I remember seeing Greg Allman do an impromtu gig with a 15 year old by the name of Derek was your proverbial melting pot and that coupled with (yes) the Clevlander made 10th and Ocean the epicenter of the Magic City! Those were magical times...yes siree.

      4 Replies
      1. re: netmover

        I loved Key East which was later replaced by Granny Feelgood's and currently Sushi Siam.

        1. re: miaedu

          That's right...whatever happened to the Executive Chef Joe? I want to say his last name was Toma. He was one of very few Certified Executive Chefs in the nation at that time. Their White Pizza cooked in a regular oven was beyond compare and many of their dishes hit the spot. Why that owner didn't cut his star chef in for a piece of the pie is beyond me. The place was always packed!

          Granny's didn't last too long, in fact had you not mentioned it, it would have slipped my mind completely. Looks like they're doing an outpost in Aventura soon.

          Those were the days!

          I rarely even go to Lincoln and I live on the's a great street, just a little over the top for my tastes.

        2. re: netmover

          Oh gosh, I totally forgot the name of Key East until you said it -- their Caesar salad was so good that I begged the chef for the dressing recipe. I had it up until a few years ago - lost it in a cookbook and stupidly never put it on a computer!

          1. re: moonsea

            That was an awesome Caesar...too bad you can't share it! I would love to know what happened to that chef. I will try to track him down via the link to James Beard someone recenlty provided.

        3. here’s some more food for thought.

          According to the old city search listing YUCA was at 394 Giralda. Then according to the South Florida Gourmet the address listed is 349 Giralda. Both list same phone number.

          Graziano’s is now at 394 Giralda. Giacosa was also listed as 394 Giralda. Wasn’t Pickford’s also at that location before?

          YUCA opened mid-to-late 1989 at 148 Giralda and then moved across the street to a larger space at 177 Giralda about April 1991 where La Dorada is now. In 1995 the location at 501 Lincoln Road opened. Shortly thereafter the original was closed.

          4 Replies
          1. re: miaedu

            that makes sense miaedu...thanks for the clarification.

            1. re: miaedu

              That all makes sense. The 394 Giralda address for Yuca then came after the Lincoln Road location was opened, but was shut down again shortly thereafter.

              Which only leaves me to ponder why I'm thinking that Giacosa was at another location for at least some period of time. Was Giacosa the place that used to have a lot of game items, or am I confusing it with somewhere else?

              1. re: Frodnesor

                I think Giacosa may have closed then reopened there, but I am not 100% sure.

                1. re: netmover

                  no.. giacosa.. didn't pull a closing reopenng that I ever know of... one of the waiters and one of the chefs from Giacosa did leave and open Cafe Vialetta which is at LeJeune and Bird