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Winker's Diner
Photograph: Michael Pisarri

These Miami restaurants and bars have now permanently closed

Say goodbye to the delicious institutions and other beloved Miami restaurants that have now permanently closed.

Virginia Gil
Written by
Virginia Gil
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January 2022: It's the start of a new year and, sadly, some of our favorites haven't joined us on this side of 2022. Groot Hospitality's Winker's Diner has shuttered after three months in business (we'll miss its massive lobster cobb salad the most). 

For nearly two years now, bars and restaurants in Miami have fought the good fight to stay open in the face of lockdown. Many have weathered months of closures and interrupted reopenings but even as our city continues on its upward trajectory toward so-called normalcy, many beloved spots have permanently closed. The restaurants below dealt us a real gut-punch when we learned their fates. Some have shuttered as a result of leases expiring while others have straight up gone out of business. Times are tough and there’s no telling what other businesses might follow suit. This list is by no means exhaustive, and we’ll continue to update it as news becomes available. For now, take a look at the notable Miami restaurants and bars that won’t be returning to the local dining scene.

Permanent restaurant and bar closures in Miami

  • Restaurants
  • Diners
  • South Beach
  • price 2 of 4

We gave this glittering diner a glowing review back in early fall, touting its throwback design, including its three-dimensional Art Deco patterned walls, and its elevated fast-casual menu. David Grutman's attempt at an upscale diner was visually striking and, sadly, short-lived. In business for just three short months, Winker's closed in late December. According to the Miami New Timesthe sudden closure is set to make way for a new Groot concept. Which is all fine and good so long as there's a lobster cobb on the menu.

  • Restaurants
  • Barbecue
  • Downtown
  • price 2 of 4

The sad news of Sparky's closing came last fall after one of its owners passed and Covid severely affected lunchtime traffic. The downtown institution excelled in the dry-rub department and served a killer banana pudding, just two of the reasons why Time Out included Sparky’s in their list of best barbecue restaurants in America in 2017.

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Coffee shops
  • Park West
  • price 2 of 4

On Monday, May 17—just a couple of days shy of its five-day anniversary—All Day announced it would be pausing operations and taking a time out while owners and staff get their bearings once again. "We are not equipped or able to improve upon it right now, and so we must close until we figure out a new way to operate that is enjoyable and healthy again," cited the Instagram post. While the news doesn’t state a permanent closure, a future reopening date was not announced. 

  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Design District
  • price 3 of 4

One of the most anticipated restaurants of 2019 was Ember, and, sadly it never made it to its first anniversary (it opened in May of last year). Brad Kilgore’s upscale contemporary American restaurant, inspired by his Kansas City upbringing, was known for its perfectly juicy fried chicken and crave-worthy 30-layer lasagna—the dish we'll miss the most. “Ember was closed longer than it was open, as you can imagine that is a heavy hill to climb,” Kilgore wrote to the Miami Herald. “It’s definitely very emotional as years of work in the concepts, menu, and design were put into both spaces.”

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Design District
  • price 4 of 4

Kaido is another one of Brad Kilgore’s buzzy Design District restaurants that couldn’t withstand the pressures of lockdown. The upscale Japanese cocktail lounge opened in December of 2018 and its secret sushi den, Ame, welcomed guests soon after. It closed in March and even as other restuarants in the city reopened, Kaido’s compact size was never built for social-distancing. Instagram pizza sensation Old Greg’s used its kitchen for a couple of months but it too has since closed and looking for a new space. 

  • Restaurants
  • Caribbean
  • Downtown
  • price 2 of 4

We gave this chill, Caribbean restaurant five stars straight out of the gate—and boy did it deserve it. It was homey with a deeply personal menu inspired by namesake chef Timon Balloo’s mixed island heritage. Sadly, its compact, cozy vibes were what did it in. Chef Balloo announced the restaurant’s closure on Instagram today, adding that while the physical location is closed, the operation continues with meal kits and an abbreviated menu available for pickup and delivery on select days of the week. Fortunately, he hopes to reopen Balloo in a bigger and better space sometime in the future, though no word on where that will be yet. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • Surfside
  • price 3 of 4

After three years and numerous accolades, this dreamy Italian import has shut its doors permanently. The groups behind Le Sirenuse and Four Seasons Hotel and Residences at The Surf Club made the mutual decision to stop operations in August after lockdown closures negatively impacted the business. According to a statement released by the restaurant, “Le Sirenuse will be working diligently to resume its presence in North America and continue the great culinary transitions of Naples and the Amalfi Coast.”

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • South of Fifth
  • price 3 of 4

Say goodbye forever to the best roast chicken in Miami. The South Beach restaurant with roots in New York City won’t be reopening—and it’s filed for bankruptcy. According to the Philadelphia Business Journal via Eater Miami, Upland is the only restaurant within Stephen Starr’s hospitality group seeking bankruptcy protection. Starr’s other South Florida eateries—Le Zoo, Makoto, and Steak 954—remain open.

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  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • Miami
  • price 1 of 4

The end of this tiny restaurant made big news when it closed on August 22. While only around for six years, it was an industry darling loved for its authentic, affordable Thai cuisine. Over its brief lifespan, Cake Thai expanded to food halls 1-800-Lucky and Lincoln Eatery, as well as Wynwood, but all locations have since closed.

  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • Wynwood
  • price 1 of 4

One of the neighborhood’s largest, splashiest breweries has closed up shop. Last call for a Concrete Beach brew to-go was September 5. Though it’s not all bad news: Dogfish Head Miami will be taking over the space in the near future, and you can still get Concrete Beach’s best-selling Havana Lager where beer is sold.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • South Beach

Ground zero for hungry tourists seeking Cuban food, this enduring South Beach restaurant closed its doors on August 31 after 42 years. The family-owned business made the announcement on Instagram, breaking our collective hearts and leaving Miami Beach with one less Latin eatery.

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  • Restaurants
  • Coffee shops
  • West Miami
  • price 2 of 4

The Wynwood breakfast spot (where all hangovers went to die) announced on Tuesday, June 23, that it would be closing the doors on its coop. It was home to some of the best breakfast sandwiches in Miami and served its mimosas in coffee mugs, giving us the freedom to sip champagne as early as we wanted. We’ve heard news of a reopening in recent weeks and can confirm a new Laid Fresh could be arriving as soon as November. Stay tuned.

  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Wynwood
  • price 1 of 4

Meet LAID Fresh, the new eggcentric restaurant by the same people who brought you the wonderful Asian BBQ spot KYU. It’s the place where all hangovers go to die thanks to an assortment of hearty breakfast sandwiches on fluffy potato-brioche bread stuffed with ingredients like bacon, sausage, avocado, locally made mozzarella and, of course, eggs. Though if you’d rather pass on the yolky stuff, LAID also serves two types of boneless fried chicken sammies—hot with a generous slathering of spicy sauce and cambozola cheese and crispy with house-made pickles and slaw.

The menu features other morning favorites, such as crispy herb potatoes (think a cross between a latke and a McDonald’s hash brown, only better) and doughy beignets liberally dusted with powdered sugar. Coffee and fresh-pressed bottled juices are available. Plus mimosas are served round the clock in discreet yellow mugs—because no one needs to know what you’re sipping.  

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  • Restaurants
  • Soul and southern American
  • Miami Beach
  • price 3 of 4

Richard Hales’s beloved fried chicken spot inside the Confidante Miami Beach closed suddenly just as the county went into lockdown. The Miami Herald reports that Hales was unceremoniously let go from his contract during a March 18 meeting with the Hyatt group, which owns the property. The chef has since filed a lawsuit against Hyatt.

  • Restaurants
  • Diners
  • Miami
  • price 3 of 4

The Vagabond’s chic, American diner from the folks behind Mandolin is now Mr. Mandolin, ofering more of the group’s signature Greek eats in a far more relaxed setting. Say goodbye to potato pancakes and cheese and hello to classic Aegean street fair. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Latin American
  • Brickell
  • price 2 of 4

Open for less than two years, the Brickell restaurant’s shone bright thanks in no small part to its executive chef and owner Carlos Garcia. The talented toque made waves with his award-winning restaurant in Caracas and left a lasting impression on Miami’s culinary community, forging partnerships with local chefs and fundraising for various causes through intimate dinners and special events. An Eat List entry from the moment it opened, Obra will be sorely missed.

  • Bars
  • Coral Gables

The Coral Gables institution decided not to renew its lease just as lockdown started, reported the Miami Herald. Known for its rousing happy hours and festive St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, one of Miami-Dade’s few Irish pubs officially closed its doors for good mid-April after 30 years in business.

Editor's note: In the spring of 2021, Breakwater Hospitality Group announced it would be partnering with Erick Passo (Black Market Miami) to reopen JohnMartin's in the fall of 2021. A new date has not been announced. 

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