Restaurants That Should Have Never Gone Away, Part 1

It's one of the great tragedies of life. A favorite restaurant, diner, eatery or even a hot dog stand disappears -- sometimes in its prime. There's nothing to do about it. Nobody to complain to. There's only heartfelt reminiscing with others who share your longing. Time will heal those wounds. And just when you think the pain has finally subsided, here we come to make it fresh again. You're welcome!

This is part one of our take on those restaurant that should have never closed.

East Coast Fisheries, Downtown Miami
Located in a rickety Mediterranean revival building right on the Miami River, East Coast Fisheries opened in 1933 (the first tenant was Miller's Fish Market, which started business in 1926) and finally closed in 2000. So what if the building leaned a bit? There was no better place to suck down some fried smelt. Despite the dilapidated structure, the food was top class and in its heyday, rivaled Joe's Stone Crabs for the most popular in town.

Biscayne Cafeteria, Coral Gables.
This was an old school buffet-style restaurant on Miracle Mile that closed earlier this decade. The fare was fair, but it is the feel of the place that will be missed most. Waiting in the buffet line - which snaked around the restaurant--was like traveling through a corridor in time. Servers in Civil War-like uniforms would take your tray from the end of the buffet line to your table and shuffle the plates off with grace and efficiency. They always had a fresh cooked turkey ready to slice and mashed potatoes and gravy so thick it had to be served with an ice cream scooper.

WPA, Miami Beach
In its time, the early 1990s, WPA  (on Washington Avenue and Sixth Street) was the coolest place to be seen eating in South Beach. A combination of huge Works Progress Administration-themed murals lined the walls and the sheer size of servings made this the go-to spot before you went to The Spot. And it was cheap. Try finding such a place on the Beach today.

Dixie Cream Donuts, Cutler Ridge
A gathering spot for all of South Dade before Hurricane Andrew cruelly took it away from us in 1992, Dixie Crème was a donut shop the likes of which don't exist in Miami today (Velvet Crème is also gone). Sorry but Dunkin Donuts just doesn't cut it when compared to the made- from-scratch specialties including the never to be replicated Peanut Butter and Jelly Donut. Remember those coffee mugs hanging on the walls. Where have you gone Otto Kaufman?

Wolfie's and Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House, Miami Beach and Sunny Isles Beach
Wolfie Cohen's Jewish delicatessens used to be institutions on the water in South Florida, but they've been taken from us in the last decade. Wolfie's (on the corner of Collins and 21st St.) went first in 2002 and the Rascal House (172nd and Collins) followed in 2008. These delis served the likes of the Rat Pack and the Beatles in their day, and despite the thousands of restaurants that have followed them, nothing matches their style. The huge lighted Wolfie's sign in South Beach and the Miami Modern signage of the Rascal House (which came down initially in 2005 thanks to Hurricane Wilma) will never be duplicated. Damn we miss those pickles on the table.

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