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.
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.
6720 Coral Way
PIERRE’S CARIBBEAN RESTAURANT
11105 NW 7th Avenue
12101 Biscayne Boulevard
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.
6091 SW 8th Street
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.
BIRD ROAD CAR ACCESSORIES
9000 SW 40th Street
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 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.
BOTANICA EL VIEJO LAZARO
5800 W Flagler Street
5315 NW 36th Street
7379 Bird Road
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.
CHEZ MADAME JOHNS
975 NE 125th Street
1180 SW 57th Avenue
TINTA Y CAFE
1315 Ponce de Leon Boulevard
521 NW 103rd Street
COOL BURGER BEAST-RELATED FACT
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