Vagabond Village Has Closed

Watermelon kimchi, pan-seared scallops, and salmon sashimi.
Watermelon kimchi, pan-seared scallops, and salmon sashimi.
Courtesy of Vagabond Village
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Vagabond Sushi, the Amir Ben-Zion restaurant inside the Vagabond Hotel, is closed.

The restaurant closed yesterday, along with Brigitte, the intimate bar and billiard lounge.

The Vagabond pool bar remains open, according to an executive at the Vagabond Group, which operates the Vagabond Hotel. The pool bar is owned by the hotel. Although Ben-Zion did make some decor upgrades and operate the pool bar, it is now under the umbrella of the Vagabond Group with Sebastian Millan returning as bar manager.

Vagabond Village opened just a few months ago, with the pool bar making its debut in early fall and the sushi restaurant opening October 26.

According to a representative for the Village, the restaurant and lounge will reopen with different concepts.

A Miami developer lovingly restored the Vagabond Hotel to its original glory in 2014, with a slew of restaurants opening and closing in a few short years.

In January 2015, Vagabond Restaurant & Bar opened with chef Alex Chang creating a sophisticated menu. Chang rose to fame after a documentary named Paladar chronicled the underground restaurant he operated at the University of Southern California. Chang left the restaurant — and Miami — in July 2016.

That same summer, the restaurant reopened as Vagabond Kitchen & Bar by restaurateurs Fabien Chalard and Julien Geliot of Plethore & Balthazar in Lyon, France. The bistro offered American and French fare, but still couldn't attract steady business. It closed in April 2018.

When Amir Ben-Zion took over the space, there was plenty of neighborhood buzz. Ben-Zion hired executive chef Mike Hiraga, who worked for Blue Ribbon Sushi in Miami Beach, to helm the kitchen. The restaurateur remodeled the interior with banquette seating in jewel tones and added pieces by local artist Juan Rozas. He added a special take-out window and a small market where customers could pick up some sake or beer to go with their home-dining experience. 

Still, the restaurant closed a few months after it opened. 

Ben-Zion, who owned the outstanding and sorely missed Gigi, has had his share of restaurant wins and losses.  His restaurant, Cooper Avenue, an ambitious project just off Lincoln Road, shared a similar fate as Vagabond Sushi. The restaurant opened in September 2012. Three months later, it closed without warning, citing AC and ventilation issues. A sign on the door said, "We have decided to temporarily close as we work diligently to relocate the AC & ventilation. Please check with our Facebook and website for updates. We Will Be Back!"  Cooper Avenue never reopened.

Vagabond Hotel. 7301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 786-332-4991; thevagabondhotelmiami.com. Vagabond pool bar open 6 to 11 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday from 6 to 11 p.m., Friday from 5 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from 3 p.m. to midnight, and Sunday from 3 to 11 p.m.

Correction:  An earlier version of this story stated the Vagabond's pool bar had also closed. It is open.

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