BarMeli, the intimate Mediterranean wine and tapas bar, is moving to new digs.
The restaurant, which currently shares a strip mall with a personal trainer and a hair extension salon on NE 79th Street, is moving to its new home at 6925 Biscayne Blvd., the former space of Michelle Bernstein's Michy's. The restaurant will also have a small name evolution. BarMeli 69 Restaurant & Wine Bar will reflect both the new location and the expanded menu, which will include more entrées in addition to the eatery's classic tapas items.
According to BarMeli owner Liza Meli, Maykel Solis will be chef of the new iteration of the restaurant, just as he has been since the two met at Anise Taverna. "I couldn't go on without him," Meli says. "It's his special ingredients and love that make the dishes what they are."
Meli is a veteran Miami restaurateur, having owned Ouzo Greek Taverna and Anise Taverna before opening her neighborhood wine bar three years ago.
Meli plans to open the restaurant by November 1, with only a week or so gap between closing the current space and opening the other. The new location will have the same feel and decor as the current one, but with a few crucial upgrades. For one, the larger space will provide seating for about 20 more guests. The new location will also have a large kitchen, and there's more available parking. "I've had customers say, 'If you had better parking, I'd come in more often,'" Meli adds.
These perks will also allow Meli to open her restaurant for both lunch and dinner six days a week. The restaurant, as always, will be closed Sundays. "Never on a Sunday — that's a Greek thing," the restaurateur quips.
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Meli also says the move will bring her closer to many of her regular customers. "A lot of people live in Belle Meade, and now they can walk to the restaurant. There's not a lot of foot traffic on 79th Street."
Anyone who has frequented Meli's establishment knows that hospitality is the name of the game. The restaurateur, who started in the industry by working at family restaurants, says, "I just came back from Greece, and it's normal Greek hospitality. In every restaurant, they care, they give something. That's what I saw my family doing. I really feel it's the culture, to be honest."
In all, Meli says she's found the key to why her eatery is such a warm and inviting place to eat and drink: wine. "Everyone loves wine. That's the common denominator. My customers are locals, and there's no pretense. I have the best customers on the planet. I created something I wanted to go to with honest food and great wine."