SushiSamba, a Lincoln Road Mainstay, to Close This Year

Sushi at SushiSamba.
Sushi at SushiSamba. Courtesy of SushiSamba
Amid skyrocketing rents in Miami Beach, SushiSamba, one of the oldest remaining restaurants on Lincoln Road, will close in December.

Orange Brands Management, the restaurant's ownership, will not renew the lease on the international chain's sole remaining Miami-area location, according to paperwork filed October 8 with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The lease is set to expire on December 22, and 53 employees will be laid off as a result. SushiSamba's remaining restaurants are located in Las Vegas, Amsterdam, Dubai, and London, which has two.

The Miami Beach franchise has been open since 2001, an eternity in the city's food scene. The restaurant, known for its colorful decor and fun fusion of Japanese and Brazilian cuisine, was part of the initial wave of businesses that gave Lincoln Road Mall a much-needed face-lift in the early 2000s, attracting tourists and locals alike. With rents now averaging $300 per square foot, it seems the place was a victim of the area's success.

SushiSamba unsuccessfully attempted expansion in Miami-Dade several times. A Coral Gables location debuted in 2013 but closed several years later. Meanwhile, an opening in Midtown, preceded by a 2012 pop-up during Art Basel, was foiled by construction issues.

Increased competition in Miami might have also played a part in the location's demise, because plenty of other sushi restaurants, some with a Latin influence, have opened recently. Hiden, the so-called secret sushi bar helmed by the Japanese-Brazilian chef Tadashi Shiraishi, opened last year in Wynwood, and Fernando Chang serves Japanese-Peruvian bites at Itamae in the Design District's St. Roch Market. For a high price, one can even enjoy sushi in Gianni Versace's former mansion. The food scene on Lincoln Road has also expanded in the past year to include two food halls.

It's sad to see SushiSamba go, but at least we'll always have that Broad City parody.

SushiSamba. 600 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; 305-673-5337;
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Douglas Markowitz is a former music and arts editorial intern for Miami New Times. Born and raised in South Florida, he studied at Sophia University in Tokyo before earning a bachelor's in communications from University of North Florida. He writes freelance about music, art, film, and other subjects.