Best Fight to Stay in Business While the City Keeps the Street in Front of Your Restaurant Busted Up for Two Years (2006)

Cocopelli Café

From the exterior, Cocopelli looks like the sort of bistro where the soupe al'oignon comes crusted with construction dust. Or like a place you can't enter without overcoming great obstacles. Worse, it resembles a restaurant that's closed. That's because this homespun bistro opened on a stretch of Biscayne Boulevard just as renovation on the road was beginning. Jackhammers blasted away. Dust and debris went flying. Frustrated drivers leaned on their horns, and gas fumes plumed from idling cars. Rather than head out on the town for a casual French dinner, the café's customers battled a slow crawl through what to the untrained eye looked like Kabul. Yet through it all, Cocopelli kept cooking up rustic renditions of classic bistro fare. Tender escargots. Foie gras terrine. Steak frites. Grouper en papillote. Homemade fruit tarts. And a funny thing happened: Loyal locals struggled through the hostile territory for the delicious food, affordable prices (most entrées cost less than $20), and accommodating service. Now that the war zone has moved south and the dust has settled, we'll all be able to see more clearly what an exemplary little neighborhood restaurant this is.


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