First Bites

Ricky's Opens in SoBe: Waffle Mac 'n' Cheese, Arcade Games, Cocktails, and More

Next door to Bodega Taqueria y Tequilla sits Ricky's (1222 16th St., Miami Beach), the latest concept from Menin Hospitality. The high-ceilinged venue is part old-school entertainment complex, part bar and eatery. Arcade games such as Terminator, Dance Dance Revolution, and air hockey greet you as you enter the dimly lit industrial space. Toward the back, across from the sprawling bar, there's a big stage where the band Jean Pjam is playing reggae as part of Reggae Fridays. Massive couches face the stage for prime viewing, but there's plenty of room for dancing too.

If you want something to eat, order at the bar or head to the booth that says "Quality Foods" and take your fair food to one of the picnic-style tables. Culinary director of Menin Hospitality, Bernie Matz, is responsible for the carnival-inspired menu, which features smoked corn dogs ($8), chicken nachos ($9), and loaded fries ($9).

Menin has been on a roll this year with the opening of Ricky's and Halves & Wholes, a 24-hour modern sandwich shop (1600 Alton Rd., Miami Beach). The group also owns Bodega, Pizza Bar, and Radio Bar.

Bakehouse, Menin's French bakery, is slated to open tomorrow in the South of Fifth neighborhood. What's more, the restaurant group will open Al's Diner in the old Firestone service station on Alton. The 24-hour eatery will include a take-out window on the 16th Street side of the iconic building, which opened in 1939.
Similar to Bodega, Ricky's is the type of place you can go for the food and stay for the great bar scene. It's relaxed enough for a Tuesday night, while on weekends the party vibe cranks up a notch. New Times was invited for a visit a week after Ricky's November 11 opening. Here's a little taste of what we sampled.
The folks who created the drink menu at Radio Bar and Bodega have taken their talents to Ricky's. If you like vodka-based cocktails, try the Pedal to the Ketal, made with Ketal One vodka, Gancia Americano, vanilla-cherry shrub, lime, and orange zest ($13). It's served in a chilled coupe and is delightfully tart with just a hint of sweetness. There are also table-tap beer bongs, 150 whiskey varieties, and a create-your-own punch option for groups.
Choose from six slider options ($3 to $4.50 each), including a tasty black-bean variety for vegetarians. It's hard to go wrong with the classic all-American, but the lamb burger with feta, onions, tomato, and a feta-tahini dressing is also a great bet. And after trying Ricky's fluffy buns, we're extra excited about the opening of Bakehouse.
A waffle stuffed with mac 'n' cheese is an inspired hybrid. You have the option of ordering the waffles as a side dish ($7) or getting it with smoked barbecue pulled pork, homemade barbecue sauce, roasted corn, fried cherry peppers, and chili crema ($11).
Prime One Twelve has deep-fried Oreos and red velvet cake, but Ricky's has deep-fried Milky Way and Snickers ($8). We tried the latter, and they're not to be missed.

In addition to offering state-fair-style food and sweets, Ricky's has weekly programming such as Monday-night football, followed by live band karaoke, comedy night Tuesdays, and rock 'n' roll Thursdays. Think of this new spot as a modern amusement park where children aren't allowed and where drinking is not only permitted but also encouraged.

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