BarMeli to Close After a Decade of Wine, Tapas, and Hospitality | Miami New Times


BarMeli69 to Close After a Decade of Wine and Hospitality

But No Reservations is on the way.
Bar Meli's Liza Meli
Bar Meli's Liza Meli Photography by Stian Roenning
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For a decade, BarMeli 69 (affectionately known as Bar Meli) has been one of Miami's most enduring and beloved restaurants. The small wine bar on 69th Street and Biscayne Boulevard (Bar Meli started its life on the 79th Street Causeway) is best known for its delicious Greek tapas, organic wine selection, and amazing hospitality.

Now, after a decade of turning patrons into friends, and friends into family, Bar Meli is closing. Owner Liza Meli posted the news on her Facebook page:
Hello friends,
10 years ago, a humble wine bar named Barmeli, opened its doors with much excitement & passion.
For me personally, it has truly been an incredible ride that I would not change for anything.
Thank you to all those interesting characters we have had the pleasure to meet & serve.
Much wine, late nights and belly laughs, have made many unforgettable memories.
With OUR great TEAM and your loyal support, we proudly made it a decade.
Our Barmeli journey has reached its destination with much gratitude.
Until then, I will be there every night, with wine glass in hand and a story or two, to see you one more time.
Cheers to you all
Meli tells New Times that, after ten years, it was time to make a change. "Bar Meli just got too big for me. The expenses have skyrocketed. As a restaurant it was successful, but it wasn't where it should be for the work that was put into it."

The restaurant owner says that Bar Meli originally started as a small wine bar with tapas. But, when the restaurant moved to a larger space, it turned into more of a sit-down restaurant. "My business was determined by the number of reservations I received. So, people would make 8 p.m. reservations, and everyone comes at the same time. I was tired of the whole reservation system," she says.

Meli sees the closure of Bar Meli as a positive. "Customers are upset, but I'm not upset. I look at this as a real success story," she says.

Meli, who opened her first restaurant Ouzo's Greek Taverna in North Beach with her brother Johnny in 2002, won't be idle for long.
click to enlarge
BarMeli 69
Photo courtesy of BarMeli 69
She plans to open a new wine bar on 109th Street and Biscayne Boulevard in the coming months. The 1,000-square-foot restaurant will offer chef-driven fare, organic wine, beer, and a walk-in policy where all are welcome. The name? No Reservations.

"It's a cool, hangout kind of place. I wanted to try something different," says Meli, who adds that Miami needs more casual little restaurants. "The problem — besides having a thousand restaurants — Is all that formality. People want to chill. They want to hang out and have a little food."

Though Meli is changing the location, name, and concept of her restaurant, the hospitality that became a trademark of the restaurant will remain. "Hospitality is part of my Greek culture. This is my fifth restaurant, and people have always mentioned that they feel welcome. That reinforces what I do and it makes me want to keep going."  Meli also gives credit to her team, including Andrea Schiavi, who has been with Meli for 20 years. "There's respect and trust there."

Meli is also partnering with her Bar Meli chef, Christophe Bibard, on the new venture. This time, however, the talented chef (who made the Top Chef Paris finals), will be able to create a menu to his liking. Meli describes the food at No Reservations as, "eclectic, well-made, and creative cuisine. Think of it as the world on a plate."

Meli also shares that she's looking for another possible location to open a new iteration of Bar Meli, but for now, she's looking forward to No Reservations. "I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. I'm  looking forward to a new challenge."

For now, No Reservations has no opening date, which depends on permits, according to Meli. But for now, there's still time to have a few glasses of wine and some flaming saganaki at Bar Meli before it closes on Saturday, February 18. But whatever you do, don't be sad — because Meil isn't. "My motto is don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. It's not like I'm going away. I'll see everyone soon."

BarMeli69. 6927 Biscayne Blvd,. Miami; 305-754-5558;
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