Food News

Cooper Avenue Arriving at New World Garage Space This Summer; Gigi South Beach Plans Scrapped

Last year, we broke the news that restauranteur and nightlife impresario Amir Ben-Zion was planning to open a South Beach outpost of Gigi at 1661 Pennsylvania Avenue. The location at the parking garage for the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center included 7,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space that would have been dubbed "Gigi Village."

But Ben-Zion has had a change of heart, and now Cooper Avenue, according to its official site is scheduled to open in"summer 2012."

No word yet on what kind of food will be served, but the Facebook page says there will be breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Also, the available logo uses the words "bakery," "cafe," "deli," "restaurant," "market," "bar," and "lounge." For the most part, it seems like the original plan for Gigi Village to be an expansive retail and restaurant area that offers many different experiences remains intact.

Another question that remains is who Ben-Zion will tap to lead the kitchen in this new venture. After Jeff McInnis' quick departure from Gigi, focus quickly went back to the restaurant and not the chef at helm, with the food remaining surprisingly consistent. We are wondering if Cooper Avenue will avoid hiring another rising-star chef.

Update: Spokesperson for Amir Ben-Zion told us beyond what's on the Facebook page, there is nothing else to report at this moment. So still no clues as to what kind of cuisine Cooper Avenue will serve or who the chef will be.

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Jose D. Duran is the associate editor of Miami New Times. He's the strategist behind the publication's eyebrow-raising Facebook and Twitter feeds. He has also been reporting on Miami's cultural scene since 2006. He has a BS in journalism and will live in Miami as long as climate change permits.
Contact: Jose D. Duran