Decades ago, that entertainment came in the form of families coming to the Grove to find a prime spot to watch Pan American Airways' seaplanes take off and land at Dinner Key.
From 1931 to 1945, Coconut Grove was the home of the Pan American Seaplane Base, which connected Miami to Central American and South American destinations. In 1946, the City of Miami purchased the property and, in 1954, the terminal building became Miami City Hall. The building was listed on the National Park Service registry in 1975 and serves as a prime example of Art Deco architecture and design.
Now, Grove Bay Hospitality Group is paying tribute to Coconut Grove's aviation and nautical past with Bayshore Club, which combines an open-air restaurant, bar, and entertainment garden in the spot where Scotty's Landing — another iconic piece of Coconut Grove — once stood.
Bayshore Club is part of the larger Regatta Harbour, a multiuse project that combines a marina, entertainment, retail space, and restaurants. The marina was completed in 2019 with the entire project's completion slated for next year.
The project was forged in 2013, when Grove Bay and the TREO Group, a privately held real estate investment firm, won the bid to take on a massive City of Miami project that would bring new life to the waterfront stretch that housed Grove Bay Marina, Chart House, and Scotty's Landing.
Grove Bay Hospitality Group is responsible for the operation of the restaurants at the site. One restaurant, still in its planning phase, will offer fine dining by a celebrity chef to be named.
The first restaurant, Bayshore Club, is slated to open this winter.
The casual eatery, though roofed, is virtually entirely outdoors and will take advantage of its place along the waterfront by offering a tiered, stadium-like seating arrangement that provides every seat with water views.
"The covered part of the restaurant has two levels. Walk down some stairs and you'll find the 360-degree bar" named for its views, says Grove Bay cofounder and CEO Francesco Balli. "Step further down and you'll find tables on the sand."
The structure will have a midcentury-modern feel with clean lines. The décor will pay homage to the Pan Am terminal on Dinner Key, says Balli, who describes a huge digital departure and arrival sign that will change continuously.
Seaplanes no longer come and go at Dinner Key, but boats arriving at the marina will be welcomed by a giant "Welcome to Miami" postcard mural, accented by neon lights.
The rest of the restaurant will offer nods to the former seaplane terminal "There are many historical aspects we're incorporating into the design," says Balli, noting that the menu will have the look and feel of an airplane's design plans.
An outdoor patio will feature oversize games, seven fire pits, and seating areas. Balli's fellow cofounder and co-CEO Ignacio Garcia-Menocal says the space will give people the opportunity to enjoy the waterfront in a casual setting. "We have space to allow folks to enjoy the waterfront. We want to make this a family affair."
Bayshore Club will offer classic pub fare — burgers, sandwiches, salads, ceviches, and tacos. The restaurant will also house a raw bar and will serve cocktails and craft beer.
Grove Bay has joined forces with some of Miami's best chefs, including Janine Booth, Jeff McInnis, Jeremy Ford, Giorgio Rapicavoli, and Marcus Samuelsson, but Bayshore Club will be less chef-driven and more destination-focused, Garcia-Menocal says. "We have great partnerships with chefs, but Bayshore Club is really project-based, so we can keep it more casual."
The chef-driven, more formal concept, will come later, in a space just north of Bayshore Club.
The project has a special place in the hearts of the co-CEOs. After all, Garcia-Menocal points out, their company is named after Coconut Grove. "We were both born here in Miami and grew up going to the Grove. We wanted to create a legacy project and have an 80-year lease, so we're committed," says the hospitality executive. "This is something very unique and not just another restaurant."
Bayshore Club. 3385 Pan American Dr., Miami; bayshoreclubmiami.com. Opening winter 2021.