Miami Spice: Price Rise in 2012

If it ain't broke, tinker with it.

That's apparently the thinking at the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau in regards to its highly successful Miami Spice program. An email was sent out over the weekend by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau that states, "Restaurants will be showcased in two groups: luxury and fine dining. Fine dining have to adhere to a lower price point which is $19 (lunch) and $33 (dinner)." A subsequent call to GMCVB brought the pricing for the luxury category: $23 for lunch, $39 for dinner.

There's no word yet as to which restaurants will fall into which categories; how that shakes out ought to be very interesting.

If the luxury designation is applied only to the really expensive joints -- The Villa by Barton G., The Restaurant at The Setai, Bianca, etc.-- then the pricing split might actually make sense. Somehow I'm skeptical that this will be the case. I bet they take all the places that were popular in past years because the $35 represented a solid deal and put these in the luxury class -- meaning restaurants like Area 31, Meat Market, Tudor House, Zuma, and so forth.

And notice that while hiking the price $4 per person on these establishments, the GMCVB is only cutting the lower end by $2 (arithmetic of the greedy). It would make more sense to comprise a 3-tier system: The moderate restaurants (City Hall, Mercadito, Petit Rouge) go for $15 lunch, $30 dinner. The so-called fine dining arenas (most steak houses, most hotel restaurants, upscale sushi joints, etc.) would be $20 lunch, $35 dinner. The handful of luxury establishments, like those referenced above, could charge $25 for lunch, $40 for dinner.

If I'm not reserving opinion, I am holding back final judgement until the categorization of restaurants is released. However things work out, it ought to become one of the most debated lists of the year.

In case you've forgotten, Miami Spice runs from August 1 through September 30.

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