Estefans Close Bongos at AmericanAirlines Arena, Focus on New Restaurant Downtown
Bongos Cuban Caf� on Biscayne to close.
Photo by Natalia Molina
Bongos Cuban Cafe in downtown Miami, owned by Gloria and Emilio Estefan, is closing after 15 years of business at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
The lease will come to term at the end of June, at which point the Estefans will focus on developing their property in downtown Miami, Miami.com reports. Although the restaurant will no longer be open, the Bongos brand will remain involved with the arena through its concession.
"We have really enjoyed our association with Bongos and the Estefans. They have been great tenants, and we wish them the very best in their future endeavors," said Eric Woolworth, president of the Heat Group Business Operations. "They will continue to be part of the Heat family by staying involved at the arena through the Bongos carts on the concourses and the Miami Heat Rhythm Section."
Since its opening, Bongos has catered to the post-Heat game crowd with its convenient location adjacent to the AmericanAirlines Arena. It is known for its authentic Cuban cuisine and signature mojitos.
The Bongos locations in Orlando and Hollywood will remain open, and there are negotiations for an opening in Las Vegas. Bongos also will keep its location at the South Terminal of Miami International Airport. Bongos employees, several of which have been there since the company's start, will transfer to the other locations.
The closing of Bongos coincides with the reopening of Larios on the Beach, the Estefans' South Beach restaurant. They reopened the South Beach restaurant with an updated look and a revamped menu. Larios' reopening signifies a new direction for the famous culinary couple, who are also channeling their efforts into a new, upscale restaurant, Estefan Kitchen, which is set to open in downtown Miami.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.