Wood Tavern's Cesar Morales is a busy man.
New Times caught up with him on the way to the hospital to visit his new daughter, Lola, who was born late last week.
The owner of Wynwood's most beloved watering hole is also making some changes and expansions to Wood Tavern.
Two weeks ago, Morales, who also owns the Bar Next Door and BND Burgers on the same block, closed his burger place, noting high rent as the issue. He plans to expand Wood Tavern into the space and keep key elements, notably the burgers.
"The reality is that the burgers sell well," Morales says. "It was even more evident after I closed it and people posted on social media. Sales were strong, and the bar side made money. The only reason was rent. I literally was up for three days brainstorming."
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Morales decided to consolidate the best-selling food at BND Burgers and expand the Bar Next Door into Wood Tavern, incorporating everything into one complex. "The idea is to downsize the menu and consolidate the Pancho Taco food truck items. We'll have cheeseburgers and chicken wings." Morales has hired a food director to oversee all of the menu items. Another change will be in the quality of the ingredients for the tacos; he says they'll be more in line with the crafted items offered at places such as Coyo Taco. Prices might increase slightly to match the ingredient sourcing.
The Bar Next Door will lose its name and become part of Wood Tavern. The space will serve tiki drinks, and there will be access to it through Wood Tavern's back area.
The expanded Wood Tavern should be open for the next Art Walk. "The renovations weren't too crazy," Morales says.
Morales also gave an update on his Allapattah Market. The market, which celebrated its grand opening the first weekend of February, has closed while required permits are finalized. "The process is underway. Realistically, it's going to be four or five months." Morales says he decided to open before all the final permits were in place to generate some revenue but couldn't continue to operate without all the necessary paperwork. There is an upside, however. "The great news is that I saw a lot of activity while it was open."