The New Coral Gables: Norman in Chains?

Coral Gables is bracing for a whirlwind of activity in coming months as new restaurants and businesses get set to move in. That's according to Mari Gallet, executive director of Coral Gables Business Improvement. "There's a lot of excitement in the air this spring," she notes. "As of April 15, we had 93 percent of all of the storefronts on Miracle Mile leased, which is one of the lowest commercial vacancy rates in Miami-Dade County."

Culturally speaking, the Coral Gables Cinemateque is nearing completion, and the Coral Gables Museum has announced an opening date of October 10. But besides the highly anticipated Norman's 180 (180 Aragon Ave.), what new eateries can we expect? A few, yet all but one will be chain restaurants.

We've surely seen Panera, which will move to 137 Miracle Mile. The Ale House will set up shop at 101 Miracle Mile), but doesn't the Gables

already have a few places just like that one? Iron Sushi will bring down the cleaver at 70 Aragon Ave. -- been there, done that, too.

I'm not familiar with what will be the 300-seat Seasons 52,

tabbed as a "healthy grill and wine bar" that will occupy six

storefronts on the north side of the 300 block of Miracle Mile (between

Salzedo Street and LeJeune Road). Folks living in Broward and Palm

Beach counties might know the outlets there. From the website: "We make a promise that

nothing on our menu is over 475 calories. The result is great-tasting,

highly satisfying food that just so happens to be good for you!" We're

not necessarily buying the hype yet, but we admit our curiosity is


The most promising newcomer, and the one we know least about, is called Wine Fashion Florence Café, described as a "high-fashion retail showroom selling Tuscan fashion and

food"  (220 Aragon Ave.). That sounds kind of interesting, no?

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