Lobster roll at Izzy's
Lobster roll at Izzy's
Courtesy of Izzy's

Izzy's Fish & Oyster Closes in Miami Beach, Opens in Fort Myers

Izzy's Fish & Oyster, Jamie DeRosa's ode to New England seafood houses, has closed. The restaurant, located in Miami Beach's South of Fifth neighborhood, was open for a little less than two years. DeRosa's other restaurant, Tongue & Cheek, closed in fall 2015 after a two-year run. It was located just a few doors down from Izzy's.

Though South of Fifth is considered the more residential part of South Beach, both restaurants didn't get enough traffic to remain afloat, DeRosa says. "The north end at South of Fifth struggles to have an identity at times. The high-rise buildings are more vacant year-round, and Fifth Street still belongs to the tourists visiting and leaving the beach." DeRosa also cited the lack of affordable parking and foot traffic as additional roadblocks.

Directly across the street, celebrity chef Fabio Viviani's restaurant, Siena Tavern, opened and closed in about six months. Lobster Bar Sea Grill took over the space a few months ago. DeRosa says that had nothing to do with the closing of Izzy's. "I’ve been on Miami Beach since 2011, and we have witnessed some of the best restaurants and operators come and go on South Beach. There is much more competition these days, and the importance of location isn’t as relevant as it once was."

Six months ago, chef de cuisine William Crandall resigned from his position at the restaurant. "William is a great chef and friend who decided to move on to spend more time with his family and focus on other interests within his career," DeRosa says. "But closing was purely a business decision on where to focus our attention with expansion and other opportunities." Crandall is rumored to be taking over as chef de cuisine at Michael Mina's Stripsteak.

The dining room of Izzy's in Fort Myers.
The dining room of Izzy's in Fort Myers.
Izzy's Fort Myers

The closure of Izzy's Miami Beach signals a fresh beginning for DeRosa. Last week, the New England-themed seafood and oyster bar opened on the state's west coast in Fort Myers, and more locations are in the works.

Much larger than the South of Fifth location, the new restaurant boasts a 15-foot raw and oyster bar in the middle of the dining room. "The core of the menu is similar," DeRosa says. "We're working with great local farms and fisherman from the west coast of Florida. If it’s not from New England, it’s from Florida’s east and west coast."

DeRosa is also opening another concept in downtown Fort Myers, the Social House, or SoHo for short, offering craft cocktails and street-food-style tapas.

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