Mina's Mediterraneo Served Its Last Brunch

Mina's shakshuka
Mina's shakshuka Photo by Laine Doss
At yesterday's Sunday brunch, Mina's Mediterraneo was packed with the usual assortment of birthday parties, families, and friends enjoying mimosas and the restaurant's signature shakshuka and Benedicts.

Even regulars were unaware this was the restaurant's last day of service. Owner Yasmine Kotb wanted to close the restaurant exactly this way. Though she posted a note on Facebook thanking patrons for five years of business, she didn't want a big blowout. "We wanted to go out like we came in: quietly," she said as she made a pass around the dining room, hugging frequent diners.

Kotb said she made the decision to close the restaurant last week after realizing she was spending every waking minute there. Looking around the bustling brunch service, she admitted, "It's not like Mina's isn't successful. It's just not me." Kotb, who owns the building, said she won't sell the business but will lease the space to a different concept. She said she's talking to a few people already, though details are still too early to share. The only sadness in closing comes from having to lay off her staff, she said. "They've been wonderful."

Mark Finlayson had been coming to Mina's nearly every Sunday for four years. In for his usual salmon Benedict, he was shocked to learn of his favorite brunch spot's imminent demise. "I think it's a tragedy. It's very hard to find a place that's consistent with good food and good staff. As Miami restaurants go, you can almost be guaranteed a good meal." He looked around at the full restaurant and shook his head. "I just don't understand why it's closing."

Kotb has no immediate plans to open another restaurant. In her near future? A long vacation. "I bought an open-ended ticket to Europe. I intend to spend at least a few weeks traveling."

Amid happy chatter, the bartender popped another bottle of prosecco for mimosas while patrons toasted another Sunday afternoon in Miami and the farewell to a beloved brunch spot.

Mina's Mediterraneo. 749 NE 79th St., Miami; 786-391-0300;
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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