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These Are Miami’s Saddest Restaurant Closures of 2019

The six closures that rocked the food world this year

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Unfortunately, restaurant closures is commonplace in the industry. While it’s never an easy decision to close a restaurant, some shutters shocked us more than others, below are the round up the most stunning closures of the year.

Tarpon Bend Coral Gables

After 15 years of being a hub for one of the most popular happy hours in Coral Gables (and really, in Miami in overall), Tarpon Bend closed up shop. The culprit: rising rents in the now booming area, according to its owner Wayne Cameron Eldred. But the drinks should be pouring again soon as the space will transform into a new eatery and bar called The Gramercy from nightlife pro Roman Jones sometime in 2020.

Paulie Gee’s

Brooklyn pizza sensation Paulie Gee’s announced in early in 2019 that it was closing its doors in Miami for good. Its owner Jason Weisberg cited a few different variables including a tough location, issues with the labor market in South Florida, and the restaurant not performing financially the way he desired. However, pizza fans can still get their hands on pizzas created by Weisberg, who developed quite the following with his popular Detroit style pizzas, as he still does pizza pop-ups alongside consulting projects.

Bazaar Mar

One of the more surprising closures of 2019 was the abrupt shuttering of José Andrés’ Bazaar Mar inside the SLS Brickell. The splashy upscale eatery, which was packed on any given night, closed without much notice after much critical and commercial success.

New ownership (which changed from Related Group to a Delaware company managed by Francois Faber of Fiduciaire Fernand Faber in January) seemed to be the source of the departure with the ThinkFoodGroup — Andres’ restaurant group — stating, “We’re disappointed that the SLS Brickell decided to change concepts under the hotel’s new ownership after two very successful years of Bazaar Mar.” The space has remained vacant since the closure at the end of March.

Pubbelly Noodle Bar

Pubbelly, the restaurant many credit for kicking off the restaurant boom in Sunset Harbour, closed its flagship location in 2019 and put its focus on its sister restaurant, Pubelly Sushi. The team decided to “blend” the concepts together, with favorites of Pubbelly’s original menu like the short rib dumplings and the chorizo stuffed dates, now being found on the Pubbelly Sushi menus throughout Miami, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Its executive chef Jose Mendin hasn’t slowed down though, this year alone he has opened a restaurant in Paris, and has a forthcoming seafood-centric eatery, Rivertail, debuting in Fort Lauderdale on December 26. Plus, more Pubbelly Sushi locations are slated to debut in the future.

Sushisamba Lincoln Road

The rising rents in Miami real estate take another victim, this time Lincoln Road mainstay Sushisamba. The space, which has been housed on the popular outdoor mall since 2001, was a victim of the neighborhood’s success. The area has transformed since Sushisamba’s opening almost two decades ago, and with that comes higher-than-usual real estate prices as it has become a hub for global retailers like Apple and H&M, making it hard for smaller, independent restaurants and stores to survive.

Purdy Lounge

While it technically doesn’t close until February 8, 2020, the announcement of Purdy Lounge’s imminent closure sent shockwaves through South Florida this fall. After 20 years in business, the late night party spot’s owners said that it “was time” for the space to say farewell.

The bar, which opened in 2000, has seen its neighborhood evolve over the years, with the area transforming into a high-end destination filled with restaurants, boutique gyms, and grocery chains — a far cry from its quaint beginnings in the early aughts when the area was mainly populated with tow yards and gas stations. However, this evolution created plenty of tension between Purdy Lounge and residents in the area in recent years over the bar’s late closing times and loud music in the increasingly gentrified neighborhood.

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