12 Signs You Grew Up in Kendall

Kendall seems like every other suburb in America: a bunch of chain restaurants, shopping plazas, and gated residential communities. Recently, though, Kendall is being noticed for its local bands and gastropubs. Just last year, a county commissioner even tried to rebrand the area of West Kendall as "West End." Seriously.

Kendallites roll their eyes at the hype because everyone needs to stop trying to make Kendall happen. It has never been cool to be from Kendall, and it probably never will be. Besides, there are already way too many people driving around here.

Yet buried beneath the self-deprecating jabs about our hood lies a complicated pride. Growing up in Kendall means you belong to a wacky suburban wonderland where people jump on the hoods of their cars in road rage and whip out guns when dogs poop on lawns. There’s no point fighting it; the geographic isolation will change you. 

Here are the 12 signs you grew up in Kendall:

12 Signs You Grew Up in Kendall
Photo by Kendall Ice Arena

12. Birthday parties were either at Kendall Ice Arena or Super Wheels
Kids from Coral Gables always held their birthday parties at Venetian Pool. But if you're from Kendall, you know there were only two places you went for a birthday party: the Kendall Ice Arena and Super Wheels. Whether you were gliding on ice or polished wood floors, the dread of wearing smelly used skates loomed over every weekend celebration.

12 Signs You Grew Up in Kendall
Photo by George Martinez

11. You've devoured too many tequeños and cachitos from Don Pan
Those little deditos of white cheese and pressed croissant ham sandwiches were your favorite. You'd run into the store, jab your fingers at the glass, and keep demanding more. Everyone knows you can never eat just one, but you probably shouldn't eat five. 

10. Your mom has had one too many at Blue Martini at Town & Country
There aren't a lot of places to go out in Kendall. Your mom and all of her friends have always loved Blue Martini. She's always back before 9 p.m. and swears she doesn't get drunk. But you know something is up when you still haven't cleaned your room but mom won't stop kissing you and telling you how much she loves you. 

12 Signs You Grew Up in Kendall
Photo by Vicki L. Miller / Shutterstock

9. You've run into O.J. Simpson at least once
Right now, O.J. Simpson is sitting in jail in Nevada. But before he was sentenced in 2008, the former footballer ran his errands around Kendall. He lived at 9450 SW 112th St., and on any given day, you could find him pumping gas beside your mom's minivan at the Chevron on Kendall Drive just before the Don Shula Expressway. Your mom would hiss at you for staring.

12 Signs You Grew Up in Kendall
Photo via Shutterstock

8. The Everglades are basically your backyard
Tourists from all the over world fly to Miami to take photos with alligators in the swamp. It never made sense. For you, the Everglades was just a 20-minute car ride away, and riding your bikes around Shark Valley was something you did whenever a relative came to visit.    

7. A strawberry milkshake at Norman Bros. was the ultimate reward 
You'd happily let your parents drag you to Norman Bros. any day for groceries — as long as they made sure to stop by the drinks counter first. Time stopped once that strawberry milkshake was in your hands. Of course you drank way too quickly and got brain freeze, but it was always worth it. 

12 Signs You Grew Up in KendallEXPAND
Courtesy of Nicole Swanson

6. You've rolled down the big hill at Tropical Park 
It didn't matter that your parents explained that "the big hill" in the middle of Tropical Park was manmade and not a real hill. By Miami standards, it was Mount Everest. During family picnics, you and your cousins would slip away and race to the top. Then you'd take turns daring one another to roll down it. You'd get so dizzy you thought you'd puke, and then you'd return to the picnic covered in dirt and grass stains.

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