Little Havana Street Construction Is Inspiration for Edukos' "Ready to Die" Menu Series

A large backhoe blocks Edukos' storefront.EXPAND
A large backhoe blocks Edukos' storefront.
Courtesy of @Peopleoflittlehavana
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John Guilarte's gastropub is surrounded by demolished sidewalks and rubble. Barricades from road construction block his entrance, and unsavory portable toilets line the street.

In October 2017, New Times reported on the road construction that was affecting the Little Havana eatery. One year later, the bulldozers and backhoes continue to tear up the streets, with no completion in sight.

Many evenings, Guilarte takes to Instagram to share videos of the empty dining room at Ekudos and the daily reality of owning a restaurant affected by road construction.

Like many other businesses in the area, Edukos has endured nearly two years of lost revenue due to the ongoing construction on West Flagler Street between Second and 27th Avenues.

Guilarte chose the location at 17th Avenue believing it would be a safe bet. He purchased the property in January 2017 with the understanding that construction would be completed in early April of that year. Instead, Guilarte has spent the past two years dueling with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), looking for answers but receiving nothing but literal roadblocks. And despite the alleged pushback from FDOT, Guilarte continues to document his journey, posting images of backhoes placed frighteningly close to the restaurant's front door.

A lone customer eats dinner amid the rubble.EXPAND
A lone customer eats dinner amid the rubble.
Courtesy of @peopleoflittlehavana

We're ready to die," Guilarte says, "but not without a fight. We are the light in all this darkness." In addition to his social media call to arms, Guilarte and executive chef Manuel Buscarini have found new and creative ways to persuade customers to turn a blind eye to the surrounding chaos. 

One such stratagem piggybacks on Guilarte's earlier quote, which has become a sort of anthem for the staff. His "Ready to Die" menus are attracting locals back to the destination. Each volume is a new construct of plates and libations that celebrate not only Guilarte's Venezuelan roots but also seasonal fare. Volume 6 is set to launch Wednesday, October 24.

Though the sixth menu is still under wraps, one new item is a fall-inspired drink. The Brown Sugar Apple Pie mixes cinnamon-infused sake, apple cider, and cardamom bitters to create a sweet and spicy cocktail.

The eatery offers unique pairings such as an octopus arepa, topped with black bean and squid ink purée, sofrito, and charred octopus; and garden tacos, a medley of roasted eggplant, cactus, and mango wedged inside corn tortillas. Patrons can always expect a food menu and rotating craft beer list with prices ranging from $5 to $20.

Guilarte is initiating extended happy hours and culinary workshops to lure customers. The restaurateur has faith that Edukos will continue despite the odds as long as patrons continue to brave the construction for a well-made meal.

Edukos. 1701 W. Flagler St., Miami; 786-452-0488; edukosmiami.com.

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