It's safe to say Miami had a rough summer. Between an insane heat index and the threat of Zika looming over Wynwood and South Beach, not many restaurants opened during our historical slow months.
In September, however, Miami began a comeback from its doldrums. Wynwood is alive and well, South Beach is bustling, and many restaurateurs announced plans to open establishments in Miami.
From a beloved wine bar expanding its scope and menu to a meat-free gastropub launching and Miami's first doughnut making a triumphant homecoming — here are the five most anticipated restaurants to announce their opening in September.
5. Bar Meli to Take Over Former Michy's Space
The beloved wine bar by Liza Meli is moving from its small 79th Street location inside a dark strip mall to the space formerly occupied by Michy's (6925 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Renamed BarMeli 69 Restaurant & Wine Bar, the eatery also boasts an expanded menu, which includes more entrées in addition to the classic tapas items.
4. Soul Tavern, a Meat-Free Gastropub, to Open in Sunset Harbour
Like a traditional gastropub, Soul Tavern will be all about indulgent comfort food, excellent liquid refreshments, and a chill, comfortable atmosphere. But at this spiritually inspired spot, there's no meat on the menu. The eatery, set to open at 1801 West Ave. in South Beach's Sunset Harbour neighborhood this fall, will offer plant-based comfort food, craft beers, Chinese herbal elixirs, and cold-pressed juices.
3. PokéBao to Serve Poke Bowls and Bao Buns in Coral Gables
PokéBao, a new fast-casual restaurant specializing in poke bowls and bao buns, is slated to open in Coral Gables this fall. The idea is the brainchild of chef/owner Daniel Bouza. By the way, Bouza knows his poke, having experienced it firsthand while working at Nobu Lana'i in Lana'i City, Hawaii. The chef, who most recently worked at Makoto in Bal Harbour, says PokéBao was inspired by a little surf shack in Lana'i that served poke bowls.
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2. Stephen Starr and Justin Smillie to Open Upland in Miami Beach
Stephen Starr is expanding his Miami Beach empire with the announcement of yet another restaurant. This time, the restaurateur is collaborating with chef Justin Smillie to bring New York City's Upland to South Beach.The restaurant, located at 49 Collins Ave., is scheduled to open this fall and will feature California-inspired cuisine in a bistro-like setting. The flagship Upland, located at 345 Park Ave. South, received a rave review by New York Times' Pete Wells, writing the directive that readers "go to Upland."
1. Velvet Creme Doughnuts Coming to Calle Ocho
It's been almost a year since Velvet Creme, an iconic Miami doughnut shop, announced its reopening after a 15-year hiatus. On September 28, Miami's first doughnut shop confirmed it is still in the process of reviving the age-old brand. But now its location will be 1555 SW Eighth St. in Little Havana, a few doors down from Ball & Chain.