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Ember
Photograph: Mike Butler Ember

These Miami restaurants and bars have now permanently closed

Bid farewell to the Miami institutions that have shuttered for good.

By Virginia Gil
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For nearly a year 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

Ember
Ember
Photograph: Courtesy Ember

1. Ember

Restaurants American creative Design District

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.”

Kaido
Kaido
Photograph: Courtesy Kaido

2. Kaido

Restaurants Japanese Design District

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. 

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Balloo
Balloo
Photograph: Vanessa Rogers

3. Balloo

Restaurants Caribbean Downtown

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. 

Le Sirenuse
Le Sirenuse
Photograph: Christian Horan Photography

4. Le Sirenuse Miami Restaurant

Restaurants Mediterranean Surfside

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.”

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Upland Miami
Upland Miami
Photograph: Courtesy Upland Miami

5. Upland Miami

Restaurants American South of Fifth

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.

6. Cake Thai Kitchen

Restaurants Thai Miami

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.

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Concrete Beach Brewery
Concrete Beach Brewery
Photograph: Courtesy Concrete Beach Brewery

7. Concrete Beach Brewery

Bars Breweries Wynwood

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.

8. David's Cafe Cafecito

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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Ortanique on the Mile
Ortanique on the Mile
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Kent Wang

9. Ortanique on the Mile

Restaurants Caribbean Coral Gables

This one stings. After more than two decades on Miracle Mile, the Ortanique has announced it will not be reopening. Owner and chef Cindy Hutson made the announcement on the restaurant’s Instagram page, sharing a heartfelt note about Ortanique’s 21 years in business.

10. White Rose Coffee

Restaurants Coffee shops West Miami

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.

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LAID Fresh
LAID Fresh
Photograph: Anastasyia Yurkevich

11. LAID Fresh

Restaurants American creative Wynwood

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.  

Bird & Bone
Bird & Bone
Photograph: Moris Moreno

12. Bird & Bone

Restaurants Soul and southern American Miami Beach

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.

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13. Gregory’s Diner

Restaurants Diners Miami

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. 

Obra Kitchen Table
Obra Kitchen Table
Photograph: Nelson Tirado

14. Obra Kitchen Table

Restaurants Latin American Brickell

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.

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Whiskey
Whiskey
Photograph: Unsplash/Michael Mroczek

15. John Martin’s Irish Pub

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.

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