Real Madrid, possibly the world's best-known soccer brand, is opening its first restaurant in the United States right in downtown Miami at Met Square (340 SE Third St.).
American Franchise Group (AFG) is opening Real Madrid Café as a partnership agreement with the team, with an expected opening in early 2018. The Spain-based investment group will work with the sports franchise to promote team-based restaurants, cafés, and museums in a five-year expansion plan that will open several more locations throughout the U.S. and Mexico.
Miami was chosen as the first North American cafe for its uniquely international flavor, says Juan Gervas, president of AFG. “While we are looking at numerous other locations in the region, there had to be a first, and downtown Miami was clearly the most appropriate destination.”
Sofia Alonso, marketing director for AFG, adds, "Miami is in the midst of a boom in gastronomy, bringing people from all over the world, thus making it very easy for us to choose it as our first location in the U.S.”
The 12,000-square-foot facility will house a Real Madrid museum and merchandise shop on the first floor and a restaurant on the second level. A top deck bar will be open until 3 a.m. The café will also feature a VIP lounge and private rooms for groups.
On July 28, a day before Real Madrid faces FC Barcelona at Hard Rock Stadium, players will attend a ceremony at the restaurant's site to imprint their hands on what will be one of the museum walls. The wall of fame is likely to become one of Miami's most Instagrammed attractions once the restaurant is completed.
Though themed restaurants bring about connotations of Hard Rock and ESPN restaurants, Andy Restrepo, communications consultant for AFG, describes an upscale experience. "The menu will focus on Spanish cuisine incorporated with American cuisine. Nothing that Real Madrid does is less than meticulous."
Real Madrid Café will join a host of restaurants, shops, and a four-story Silverspot Cinema at Met Square, scheduled to open fall of 2017.