David Grutman's trifecta of restaurants at the former Firestone Garage on 16th Street and Alton Road in South Beach will finally open this Friday, September 3, after three years of planning.
Three distinct concepts will share the same footprint underneath the Firestone sign that has greeted tourists to Miami Beach for nearly a century.
Sushi Fly Chicken, Winker's Diner, and Toothfairy each has a separate kitchen. That's not to say that they don't complement one another for those in search of an exploratory evening out.
Grutman tells New Times that the restaurants were designed to be affordable, accessible, and fun.
"I need to have spaces that people can come to three or four times a week," he says.
The founder of Groot Hospitality says he was happy to give new life to the old Firestone Garage space, which dates back to the 1930s but hasn't been in use as a tire shop since 2015.
"I love iconic, heritage stuff. The building is art deco and just feels like a representation of everything Miami Beach to me. To take a building that maybe saw its final days and give it a new life is very cool," says Grutman.
The Firestone sign, by the way, remains up thanks to a no-fee leasing deal with Bridgestone, Firestone Tire and Rubber's corporate parent since 1988. Grutman explains that the City of Miami Beach asked that the iconic Firestone sign remain and Bridgestone agreed to a deal that would retain the brand's intellectual property. "The building has been branded Firestone for over half a century and we're not taking that away," Grutman says, adding that he remembers stopping at the garage to get a flat fixed when he was younger and struggling to make it in Miami.
Alton Road is having a moment. The Kimpton Palomar, Trader Joe's, and new development projects are bringing renewed interest to a part of South Beach once reserved for locals.
"This corner is a very special corner," Grutman asserts. "You have Bodega across the street, new development coming, and the McDonald's that we all went to for some late-night nourishment."
He wants Firestone to be part of a renewal of Alton Road — and a one-stop night out in the making.
"I love hopping around, and here you can hop to three different places," he says. "You can get cocktails and sushi at Sushi Fly, have a prime rib dinner at Winker's, and get some cookies at Toothfairy."
Sushi Fly Chicken, Winker's Diner, and Toothfairy. 1575 Alton Rd., Miami Beach; sushiflychicken.com; winkersdiner.com; toothfairybakery.com. Opens Friday, September 3. (Operating hours not yet available.)