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Rusty Pelican Goes Out With a Bang (Pictures)

, Key Biscayne's iconic spot for waterfront dining since 1972, held a closing party to celebrate both its imminent renovation and the country's birthday yesterday, complete with fireworks, food and a mayoral sendoff.

The Pelican was filled to the rafters last evening, as thousands of people came out to both watch the fireworks over Biscayne Bay and to (temporarily) bid farewell to this restaurant which has been the scene for countless birthdays, weddings and date nights for Miamians throughout the decades. 

The restaurant was solidly booked both for the ala carte seating in the main dining room and the special $40 all-you-can-eat buffet in the ballroom.

The buffet featured a raw bar, unlimited drinks, a chocolate fondue waterfall and outdoor barbeque. City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado proposed a toast before the band started playing a mix of patriotic, country and Latin favorites. The star of the show, as always, was the fireworks that filled the night sky over the water.

This was the last night for The Rusty Pelican before closing for a major $6 million renovation that will remove the wicker chairs, portholes and fishnet-covered buoys that serve as lighting in the main room. The renovation will likely replace these maritime remnants with tasteful modern furnishings, light colored walls and a smart Martini menu. Screw modern. I love old school nautical theme.

As the piano player segued from Guantanamera to an unlikely version of In Da Club, we couldn't help but wonder if maybe some things are better left as cheesy classics. 







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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