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Downtown Miami - April Update

Hi Hounds>

Downtown Miami is still in the midst of an up-and-down economic rollercoaster ride. As of April 30 the corporate offices of Macy's shutter and 600+ lunch eaters get their pink slips, local restos will feel the pain.

In the mean time,

Giordano's Salad Shop is thriving across Flagler Street from the Gusman box office,

Ceviche 105 attracts a very money crowd,

NY Bagel Deli is slated to open next door to Giordano's at the Dupont Building,

you can almost get a table in under 5 minutes at Fratelli Milano on First (and watch the Miami Ink doodle pad boys drink coffee and chain smoke next door),

the PizzaTeca "pizza disco" is opened across 1st street with FULL BAR & an odd door policy attitude (seriously WTF!?),

Pe Peroni Italian is struggling to life on Flagler @ Seybold,

Tre - a pizza concept spot from the La Loggia group - will open on Flagler across from Marshall's,

(note to restaurateurs - E N O U G H Italian)

Starbucks at the BoA closed,

Thai Angel in the dirty corridor where Habibi Grill still thrives is a fun new option,

Thai Churros is struggling/drowning under the weight of the MNT positive review,

likewise the tragic Spaghetti in a Box takeout spot next to La Loggia founders,

Jimmy John's has a VERY loyal following of Atkins/SoBe dieters eating hoagie lettuce wraps while Mario the Baker sells out their garlic rolls daily just next door: "To carb or not to carb - that is the question...,"

and - best news of the day - Manny's has a FREE OYSTER HAPPY HOUR 4-7pm Fridays.

Stay tuned...

AG

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  1. AG, you're the BEST!!! Seriously, you take the words right out of my mouth (and do a much better job of it). You're spot on about the Italian thing. How many days a week can you eat pasta for lunch? Giordono's is a happy addition. Last week while eating at Fratelli Milano we thought we'd try PizzaTeca, but with your comment, maybe we'll pass. There's enough nice people trying to make it downtown, that we don't have to support the others. PePeroni on our one-time visit was awful. The food they brought out didn't come close to the menu descriptions. The manager (owner?) apologized and basically told us the chef does his own thing. I still can't figure out what that means exactly. Two other people we know sitting next to us never got their salads and finally left after 30 minutes. I agree with Thai Angel - decent Thai and the people are very nice, too. Went to the spaghetti in a box place once. That was more than enough. It's kind of scary how empty some places are on certain days. We'll have to wait and see what the impact is of the Macy's people leaving. It's tough trying to support all our local haunts, but we're going to have to fight the good fight! And thanks for the heads up on Manny's. The only thing better than fresh oysters are FREE fresh oysters. Maybe we'll see you there!

    1 Reply
    1. re: pilches

      Thanks for the updates on lunch opportunities, very thorough and almost the end all on what is happening DWNTWN.

      Would love a recap of dinner options!

    2. Just to be *absolutely* certain, the Manny's that you're talking about is Manny's Streakhouse on 300 S. Biscayne, right?

      Can't wait! It's been a rough week....

      1. >>>(note to restaurateurs - E N O U G H Italian)

        ENOUGH Pizza right?

        RosaVito (From the Rosinella's people) opened up between them and the Smoothie King on S Miami Ave serving.... Pizza by the Slice (square pizza) and rotisserie chicken?

        So many pizza places right now. How bout a burger spot?

        Didn't know Giardinos opened in downtown, I've been enjoying their Doral location for a while now.

        5 Replies
        1. re: dmo305

          pilches>

          The BEST part of PePeroni is the waitresses gyrating on the sidewalk like drunken harem ladies trying to woo diners - like the sparkly Ocean Drive hucksters. PASS!

          d barnard>

          YES! The entirely unofficial CHOW meetup is at Manny's Steakhouse where - it is written - the oysters are free from 4-7pm... I think we could BANKRUPT them if we all eat fast enough.

          dmo>

          Giardinos is across from the Gusman box office and I hear the one on 14th and Alton is struggling so they are offering a buy 1 get 1 free deal now. I will check to see if that opportunity extends to the whole chain... I love me some free stuff!

          AG

          1. re: advisor_Girl

            I am so there! I'll be the guy that looks like my avatar, the one who's elbows are just a blur! About 5:15 or so..

            1. re: dbarnard

              New!

              New on the scene in the spot next to Soupsy's Greek Grill -

              "Una Completa" Cuban fast food. With daily specials for $5.95 and create your own entrees for $6.95 the proteins encompass beef, pork, chicken and fish plus your choice of 2 sides...

              Soups include red and black bean plus garbanzo (for those of you who sleep alone) and sandwiches (pan con bistec, MediaNoche & Cubano).

              Will report back after a few visits but no doubt Pilches will get there first!

              UNA COMPLETA 360 NE 1st Street 8am-5pm 305-358-0077

              AG

              1. re: advisor_Girl

                AG, you're up first for this one - I'm catching an early flight this a.m. for NC and won't be back until the 16th. I was hoping to get a little spring and instead it looks like I'm going to get a lot of winter.
                Let us know how it is (and keep up the good work!)

                1. re: advisor_Girl

                  Just had lunch at Una Completa - it was great. It is on SE 1st St. btw.

          2. The happy hour at Manny's was as good as advertised! Drinks are also half-priced, and there's a nice view of the river from the outdoor bar. A guy comes out of the kitchen at fairly regular intervals with a cart full of plates of 6 oysters. Nice cocktail sauce, too. I only ate 2 1/2 dozen!

            7 Replies
            1. re: dbarnard

              db>

              YOU are my hero (even if your elbows are blurry).

              pilches>

              Tuesdays we usually hit the $10 "pargo entero" special at Cacique so the new spots will have to wait.

              Cacique's Lunch Restaurant. Downtown Miami: 112 W Flagler St
              Whole frito snapper, beans, rice, plantanos Tuesdays @ $9.99

              Buen provecho!

              AG

              1. re: advisor_Girl

                This Just In!
                According to Thrillist.com, Friday happy hour just got better:

                "Eat: Andu Smokeout Fridays
                5 to 7:30p, Fridays, 141 SW 7th St, Brickell; 786.871.7005
                Normally austere Andu gets all hoedown-ish with free hickory-smoked whole pig, mesquite-smoked goat sliders, $3 beer specials, and $4 homemade red or white sangria, plus tunes by a DJ named Henry, who's curiously decided not to go with his given name, Funkmaster. "

                Hope this is good payback for the Manny's recommendation- I'm sure that here are some lonely oyster beds after my oyster orgies!

                1. re: dbarnard

                  OMG db>

                  I have heard very lukewarm to chilly things about Andu but this sounds promising. We passed by Andu recently and it was so quiet you could hear the crickets.

                  Jorge Perez should get David Fincher to reshoot the end sequence of FIGHT CLUB using all of his empty skyscrapers around Downtown... Now THAT would make for a great Smokeout Friday!

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkUaV9...

                  AG

                    1. re: Frodnesor

                      Hey Fro' don't fret...

                      I do appreciate how hard you work shepherding FlaChow and your great new blog, but you're going to have to tolerate the fact that sometimes places you like are just not popular.

                      To be clear - I didn't say Andu is bad - it's just DEAD.

                      As an after work destination or a dinnertime hangout, it's not busy. And honesty MANY places Downtown are DEAD. We went to a FABULOUS party at the Ikon/Viceroy on Brickell where the food was lovely and there were few HUMAN BEINGS around not in hotel uniforms. Likewise EPIC and Manny's and lots of really lovely spots worth a looksee are doing ZERO business.

                      It's a buyer's market and they are apparently not buying. Summer is coming and unless they ALL plan to book Regis and Kelly - it's going to be a sad soggy season.

                      You reviews are really comprehensive and I wish you great success!

                      AG

                      1. re: advisor_Girl

                        I'm not fretting. I wasn't commenting on how busy the place was, only about the food. Some places are slow because there's no good reason to go there. But there are plenty of places these days that have good eats but are slow just b/c people aren't spending money, or they've got a difficult location, etc.

                        1. re: advisor_Girl

                          AG,
                          Speaking of "slow" - we had lunch today at Fresh Cafe and they're offering a buy one meal/get one half price. Also, Granny's has lowered almost every item on their menu, so at least now we can get mediocre at best food for less $$$!!!

              2. I'm headed to Miami with my wife and teenage boy manana-staying downtown off of Biscayne. This Manny's sounds great! Any sushi suggestions in the area? Fish is what we're most looking forward to.

                Thanks

                Roberto

                4 Replies
                1. re: rpyelguapo

                  there's a place next to Tobacco Road, by Mary Brickell Village, called Indochine and they have good sushi! It's a tiny place, but worthy of a few rolls and such. River Oyster Bar next door is truly the best in that area for oysters, seafood, etc .

                  1. re: rpyelguapo

                    While not sushi, Area 31, the seafood restaurant in the Epic hotel just got a great review in the Miami Herald. The Epic is a block from Manny's.

                    1. re: comidaqueen

                      I thought area 31 was just okay. the fish was fresh but bland. and we tried all the sauces.

                  2. i know it's pizza/italian but has anyone tried ecco?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: miaedu

                      miaedu>

                      ecco-discotecko?

                      I was disappointed... where is Pilches on this topic?

                      Our first visit was a comedy of errors. We ordered drinks and the waiter replied in an accent that was thick and incomprehensible (perhaps Latvian?) that they had none of the things we wanted.

                      "Coke? No cock. Iced Tea? No tea. No. No lemonade? No. No Pellegrino? No. Well, what do you have?"
                      To which he replied, "De delibbery, no delibbery today."

                      We ordered ice water and he never returned. I think the INS must have swept the place for Latvians or something.

                      We were ready to flee when a manager took our pizza order.

                      The pizza is FLAT (not just thin crust ) and visually had the potential to be something special but the crust was soggy and the toppings we mixed and matched were uniformly commercial tasting. They swipe on a thin/transparent swab of red sauce and then a Hawaiian pie had packaged sliced deli ham and canned pineapple. A sausage pie had tiny thin slices of sausage the diameter and taste of breakfast links run through a deli slicer (like little brown dimes) and canned mushrooms. Commercial Toppings Yield No Flavor... $11 to $12 a personal-sized-pie. Sheesh.

                      Let's agree I am insane b/c I WENT BACK.

                      I ordered a pannini that had what I guess may have been house-made bread (pizza crust smushed into a hoagie shape roll) that was not just day-old but re-re-heated. The caprese inside featured 2 slim slices of mozzarella and unripe mealy tomatoes, a handful of arugula in a pesto dressing held together by an odd spear of a toothpick topped with a torn shred of the dark ends of a piece of romaine lettuce (they "recycled" the dark romaine edges you might throw away in making a salad by tearing them to resemble a leaf of basil and poking them with a half a cherry tomato on TOP of the bread. This must be what they mean by ecco?) The bus boy brought a ramekin of red pepper flakes but nothing was seasoned. The pastas looked like airline entrees so we did not order pasta. A guy at a nearby table had a small but decent-looking skirt steak (Miami is apparently the skirt steak capital of the dining world now, huh?) His plate had about 6.5 inches of sizzling brown belt.

                      The servers are uniformly clueless and we noticed a few larger groups of biz folks getting antsy as the pizzas, salads and hot entrees were showing up at all different times (tough for a timed lunch hour). There are separate food stations and they are not in synch. The waiters were typical Miami MaƱana types. My dining companions liked the door hostesses (very South Beach) one of whom wore a sheer to the crotch floral blouse and a pair of not quite opaque tights, sky-high-heels and a smile - and it was really (uh) really nippy that day. If you want to cruise the help - try a drink at happy hour as the bar looks like it might be festive. Just don't eat.

                      The LARGE restaurant space will be a lucky find for the next tenant - they did a GREAT job on the build out.

                      AG

                      1. re: advisor_Girl

                        AG, just back from NC and glad to see you've been holding down the fort! We were actually going to try Ecco right before we left, but after reading your little blurb about it, we decided to pass. Anyway, there was a table calling our name at Milano (where we are always happy), so we went with the tried and true. I think we'll wait and try whatever comes in after they're gone (or in the event they get it together, we'll go then).

                        Keep up the good work!