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Miami Spice Makes an Early Return PDF Print E-mail
Written by Geoffrey Anderson Jr. and Dianne Rubin, BT Contributors   
July 2020

Food news we know you can use

IPix_Dish_7-20t’s been a crazy time for the South Florida restaurant scene. After closing for several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, dining rooms have reopened in limited capacities and with strict social distancing rules in place. The dining experience has transformed completely: face masks are the norm, digital menus have replaced paper menus, and sanitizing products are a common sight.

These measures are meant to assure patrons that dining out is safe, but here’s the thing: They’re expensive to maintain. And such expenses are another burden for eateries that are already struggling to make money. To help drive traffic to their dining rooms, many restaurants are relying on promotions, special menus, and other initiatives. One such promotion is Miami Spice.

If you’re not familiar with it, Miami Spice is an annual two-month event that is every foodie’s dream. During August and September, more than 200 South Florida restaurants offer three-course, prix-fixe menus that are easy on the bank account. You can try some of the city’s best restaurants for a fraction of the normal cost; it’s a big savings. You can see the full list at MiamiAndBeaches.com.

This year Miami Spice started in June. Surprised? We were, too. Because of the pandemic, the promotion started earlier than usual, and without much fanfare. However, it ends on the usual date, September 30. If you’ve been thinking about going out to eat, now’s the time. Here are some tips for making the most out of your Miami Spice experience.

Look for variety and creativity. When going through the catalogue of restaurants, look for menus that offer more than one or two dishes per course. By doing that, you can tell which restaurants wholly embrace the Miami Spice concept and which ones are phoning it in. The last thing you want is to spend money on an uninspired meal, especially when you’re braving a pandemic to eat out.

Try something new and exciting. Has there been a restaurant you’ve been meaning to try? See if it’s on the Miami Spice list. This time of year is the best time to experiment because you can finally visit that super-expensive restaurant on your list -- and without breaking the bank. And even if the experience doesn’t live up to your expectations, you’re out less money than if you had visited outside of Spice.

Call ahead to avoid headaches. Although Miami Spice runs for four months this year, that doesn’t mean every restaurant on the list will be participating the whole time. Some restaurants are only doing a month or two, while others are only participating on certain days of the week. Details are subject to change, and they likely will change due to the coronavirus. Always contact the restaurant directly for the latest details.

 

OPENINGS

While Miami’s dining scene is still on the road to recovery, the pandemic hasn’t stopped new concepts from making their debut. Last month downtown Miami welcomed Over Under (151 E. Flagler St.) to the neighborhood. The cocktail bar and eatery was supposed to open three years ago, but permitting and other issues -- including COVID-19 -- had delayed this spot indefinitely. The wait was well worth it: drinks are stiff and cheap, bar snacks are plentiful, and the casual Florida vibe is a nice escape from the world’s craziness.

A few blocks north, celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson opened The Creamery (920 NW 2nd Ave.) in Overtown. This ice-cream shop from the Food Network star features an array of tasty concoctions that pair well with Miami’s hot summers. Some of the flavors you’ll find in the shop’s signature creations are honey butter caramel, guava jam, and caramel corn. The shop also serves some chicken dishes that will whet the palate for the eventual debut of Samuelsson’s other concept, Red Rooster, a second outpost of his beloved Harlem restaurant.

 

CLOSINGS

Last month, several restaurants called it quits due to the current COVID-19 situation. In Brickell, celebrated Venezuelan chef Carlos Garcia shuttered Obra Kitchen Table. Further north in MiMo, Gregory’s Kitchen ceased operations at the Vagabond motel. It has since been replaced by Mr. Mandolin, a casual Greek concept from the team behind Mandolin Aegean Bistro in the Design District.

 

Geoffrey Anderson Jr. and Dianne Rubin-Anderson are co-founders of Miami Food Pug, an award-winning South Florida food blog that fuses the couple’s love of dogs and food.

 

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