John McDonald in Search of New Location as Lure Fishbar Closes in Miami Beach

Lure Fishbar's dining room
Lure Fishbar's dining room Lure Fishbar photo
Long before Carbone, Cote, and Pastis opened in Miami, a New York restaurant made its way down south.

Lure Fishbar opened at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel in 2013. The restaurant was wildly successful with both visitors and locals, who flocked to this nautical-themed restaurant for fresh seafood, perfectly crafted cocktails, and a burger that won the New York City Wine & Food Festival's Burger Bash.

In August 2022, the Loews confirmed that another New York restaurant — Rao's (best known for its red sauce classics and the fact that mere mortals might never be able to secure a reservation) — would be opening at the hotel once Lure Fishbar's lease was up.

Well, that time has come, and Lure Fishbar will close after dinner service on Saturday, May 13. Fans of Lure's lobster rolls and "Bash" burgers need not worry: Lure owner, John McDonald says he's scouting locations with plans to reopen Lure somewhere else in Miami. "I hope to be back soon, and I'm not looking at this as a total exit, but a temporary pause," he tells New Times.

McDonald says that the decision to close Lure in Miami Beach was simply due to the fact that the restaurant's lease had run its course. "It was just time for a change of location and to look at other options," he said, adding that he approves of the new tenant. "I think the plan to put Rao's in this particular location is a great move for the hotel."

The New York-based restaurateur, who owns several other restaurants under his Mercer Street Hospitality umbrella, is even entertaining the idea of bringing more of his restaurants to Miami. "Recently, I've had a few people ask about doing a branch of Bowery Meat Company and Bar Tulix, but my focus now is finding the ideal venue to reopen Lure Fishbar. I think once that's done, I'll maybe look to either of those venues or create something new specifically for Miami."

McDonald, who enjoys dining at Mandolin, Zak the Baker, and Stubborn Seed when in Miami, says that the Magic City has really matured into a fine-dining destination since he opened Lure a decade ago. "Miami has been a hot spot and a culinary destination for a long time and has clearly improved drastically in recent years."

As the clock winds down on this specific iteration of Lure Fishbar, McDonald is grateful. "The experience was great for so many reasons. Ten years ago when we opened, South Beach itself was not in direct competition with Brickell, Wynwood, and the Design District so that is a big difference in the market. The neighborhood immediately welcomed us, and we were fortunate to have had a lot of team members work at Lure for almost the entire time we've been open."

Lure Fishbar. 1601 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-695-4550;
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss

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