Old Miami Restaurant Buildings Part 1

Old Miami Restaurant Buildings Part 1
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Over the years, I’ve accumulated more old Miami restaurant knowledge than I probably care to admit. I also like to investigate a building’s history and determine if there are any more like it left around town.

Unfortunately, Miami isn’t known for preserving its history, so sometimes, you will need to dig deeper for information. It also helps to have friends like Abel Sanchez, Mike Hiscano, Ted Niarhos, Phillip Pessar, and Gretchen Schmidt, who have answers when I’ve got a question.

Sometimes only a one-off building is still standing. But if you’re paying attention, it will open up a new world to you while driving around town.

I’m hoping to make this a recurring series hence the Part 1 in the title. So if you enjoyed this little slice of Miami restaurant education, I’d appreciate it if you could share this post with your friends.

Thanks.

P.S.: You might want to try your hand at the Miami Burger Quiz.

ARTHUR TREACHER’S FISH & CHIPS

A stand-alone Arthur Treacher’s Fish & Chips has not been in South Florida for decades. The original Arthur Treacher’s expansion into Miami during the early 1970s included five restaurants.

Three of these locations are still standing, albeit with slight structural changes. If Arthur Treacher’s sounds familiar to you, it might be that you’ve seen their fish & chips on the Miami Subs Grill menu.

Arthur Treacher's ad in the Miami Herald November 26, 1971
Arthur Treacher’s ad in the Miami Herald – November 26th, 1971

LEO’S PIZZA

6720 Coral Way


Leo's Pizza, picture courtesy of Google Maps
Arthur Treacher’s – Leo’s Pizza, picture courtesy of Google Maps

PIERRE’S CARIBBEAN RESTAURANT

11105 NW 7th Avenue


Arthur Treacher's - Pierre's Caribbean Restaurant, picture courtesy of Google Maps
Arthur Treacher’s – Pierre’s Caribbean Restaurant, picture courtesy of Google Maps

STEVE’S PIZZA

12101 Biscayne Boulevard


Steve's Pizza in North Miami, Florida
Arthur Treacher’s – Steve’s Pizza in North Miami, Florida

BURGER KING

Burger King was founded as Insta Burger King way back in 1953. In 1954, it was franchised to a couple of fellas from Miami franchised the brand in Miami.

James McLamore and David Edgerton would eventually take over the company and shorten the name to Burger King. The second BK location in Miami was open from 1955 to the early 1970s.

The space would become Polaris (aka Aqui Me Quedo) in 1979 and, eventually, La Palma, which is still open today.

Burger King #2 in Miami, now La Palma restaurant
Burger King #2 in the 1950s

LA PALMA

6091 SW 8th Street


La Palma in West Miami, Florida
Burger King – La Palma in West Miami, Florida

DAIRY QUEEN

In early 1964, Dairy Queen switched traditional buildings to three-story high tee types. However, their location on US1 still operates out of one of these.

But there is a former teepee structure on Bird Road, and it’s not an old IHOP like some people think.

Dairy Queen on US1
Dairy Queen at 8545 S Dixie Highway

BIRD ROAD CAR ACCESSORIES

9000 SW 40th Street


Bird Road Car Accessories, picture courtesy of Rodrigo Moreno
Dairy Queen – Bird Road Car Accessories, picture courtesy of Rodrigo Moreno

COOL BUILDING FACT

Many folks don’t realize that one of Miami’s landmark restaurants, Arbetter Hot Dogs ran a drive-in with carhops at this location in 1963 before permanently moving to their current digs down the street in 1971.

DINNER MAID

Dinner Maid was a well-known chicken & seafood chain in Miami during the 1960s. There was even pizza on the menu at some point.

All restaurant locations were in a farmhouse-type property building. You can very easily spot these around Miami since they do stand out.

In the early 1970s, after Dinner Maid shut down operations, many became Lelly’s Drive-In Photos. Lelly’s was last seen open in 1982.

Dinner Maid - The Miami News January 17, 1967
Dinner Maid in The Miami News – January 17th, 1967
Dinner Maid ad in the Miami News April 12, 1964
Dinner Maid ad in the Miami News – April 12th, 1964

BOTANICA EL VIEJO LAZARO

5800 W Flagler Street


Dinner Maid-Botanica, picture courtesy of Phillip Pessar
Dinner Maid – Botanica, picture courtesy of Phillip Pessar

PING HOUSE

5315 NW 36th Street


Dinner Maid-Ping House, picture courtesy of Google Maps
Dinner Maid – Ping House, picture courtesy of Google Maps

SUBWAY

7379 Bird Road


Dinner Maid-Subway, picture courtesy of Phillip Pessar
Dinner Maid – Subway, picture courtesy of Phillip Pessar

DOBBS HOUSE then STEAK ‘N EGG KITCHEN

It can get a little confusing when discussing Dobbs House, Steak ‘N Egg Kitchen, and Toddle House. So we’ll stick to Dobbs House locations that became Steak ‘N Egg Kitchen.

Dobbs House was probably best known for being the restaurant found in the Miami International Airport for years and years. On December 6th, 1974, the Miami News announced that Toddle House had become Steak ‘N Egg Kitchen.

Dobbs Houses ad - September 16th, 1963
Dobbs Houses ad – September 16th, 1963

CHEZ MADAME JOHNS

975 NE 125th Street


DOBBS House - Chez Madame Johns
Dobbs House – Chez Madame Johns, picture courtesy of Phillip Pessar

SAKURA

1180 SW 57th Avenue


Dobbs House-Sakura, picture courtesy of Phillip Pessar
Dobbs House – Sakura, picture courtesy of Phillip Pessar

TINTA Y CAFE

1315 Ponce de Leon Boulevard


Dobbs House-Tinta y Cafe, picture courtesy of Phillip Pessar
Dobbs House – Tinta y Cafe, picture courtesy of Phillip Pessar

VACANT

521 NW 103rd Street


Former DOBBS House - Empty
Dobbs House – Vacant Property

My dad worked for Wise Potato Chips in the early 1980s, and Dobbs House was part of his route. It was long after the Steak ‘N Egg and Todd House years.

Also, check out Old Miami Restaurant Buildings Part 2

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3 Comments

  1. I love this article and can’t wait for Part Two.
    I lived next door to Arthur Treacher’s on Coral Way when they built it. At closing time, they would give my girlfriend & I all the cooked fish not sold. Pretty cool for two 20 year old MDCC-S students.
    La Palma was a great late-nite spot to hit after a late night at Tobacco Road, but I was going there when they opened it. Before they built a screened-in patio (AC came later), you could eat in the sweltering heat at a table on the west side.
    The DQ on Dixie is south of a car lot, but before that, there was an under-the-ground bar called Jason’s. The band I was managing, Off The Wall (or the Fat Chance Blues Band) was the house band. The owner of Jason’s wanted to put a big sign on the DQ roof, but the owner declined. So the owner of Jason’s (who also owned the Organ Grinder further south) bought the DQ. And put up his sign.

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