Exclusive: Gigi Looks to Open South Beach Branch

Since last year, Gigi in midtown has been showered with acclaim from critics and foodies alike. But not even a year old, the restaurant recently lost its celebrity chef. So where does Gigi go from here? Well, if owner Amir Ben-Zion has his way, a second branch of the restaurant will open just off Lincoln Road.

According to public records, Ben-Zion submitted a letter of intent to lease 7,000 square feet at the parking garage on Pennsylvania Avenue, which is part of the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center. "The prospective tenant is planning to open a second version of its highly acclaimed Gigi's [sic] Restaurant currently operating in Miami's Wynwood district," reads the summary of an item recently submitted to the Miami Beach City Commission.

Seven thousand square feet is a lot of space to fill, and Ben-Zion intends to use it all. Plans call for a much larger, L-shaped space for the restaurant, similar to the one in Wynwood. But that's not all. Dubbed "Gigi Village," the space would also include a Gigi Burger & Bar, Gigi Minibar, and Gigi Coffee & Bakery. In addition, plans show space for a gallery. Talk about ambitious!

On April 13, Ben-Zion appeared before the commission to explain the idea. Because of his reputation and the success of Gigi 1.0, the commission was advised to approve the ten-year lease of Gigi South Beach. The build-out is estimated to cost $2.5 million. Rent would be a whopping $525,000 annually at $75 per square foot.

Reached by phone, Ben-Zion said he couldn't talk specifically about plans for the new location.

View the full commission item summary and plans here:

R7B-Approve Lease Agreement With Gigi- 1661 Pennsylvania Avenue

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