If you’ve read my blog over the last 12 years for any period or followed me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, I’m sure you’ve noticed my multiple shout-outs to Westchester in Miami, Florida.
As a matter of fact, if you ever watched the program Burger Land on Travel Channel, I snuck in a Westchester mention.
My family moved to Westchester from New York City when I was about a year and a half old. Before I go any further, I should probably let you know what I consider Westchester, from Bird Road (SW 40th St) to Sw 8th St and from the Palmetto Expressway to SW 117th Avenue (Turnpike).
The actual boundaries of Westchester seem to always seem to be changing; read this Miami Herald article from 2000.
- My Westchester Bullet Points
- Landmark Westchester Restaurants
- Things to See and Do in Westchester, Florida
- The BEAST suggests these Westchester Eats
- Gone but NOT Forgotten Westchester Restaurants
My Westchester Bullet Points
- I attended Rockway Elementary School and, later on, graduated from St. Brendan High School.
- I grew up going to Bird Bowl (still there) on the weekends, riding my bike with my sister at Tropical Park, and watching movies at one of four movie theaters in Westchester (none are left).
- During March, we would always go to the Dade County Youth Fair at Tamiami Park, also located in Westchester.
- My family frequented the legendary Lila’s as one of our weekly nights eating out.
- I tried my first croqueta casera (homemade) at the original Latin American that was on SW 97th Avenue and Coral Way, and an addict was born.
- I would buy pasteles with my late grandfather every Sunday at his favorite spot, La Suiza (still standing).
- Even my first business, a little horror-themed movie shop called Oh, The Horror DVD Shoppe, was located in beautiful Westchester.
I’m a Westchester guy through and through; I always will be.
Landmark Westchester Restaurants
Here are some of the iconic eating establishments located in Westchester that you NEED to check out. There is no other part of Miami with so many landmark destinations and restaurants.
These six spots are icons if you ask me, and now that you’re here reading this, you know it too.
Arbetter Hot Dogs since 1959
I mean, where do I start? I’ve visited Arbetter’s more than any other restaurant on this list. Whenever I drive by, my car always thinks we’re going to Arbetter’s and wants to turn in.
I try to keep the peace by eating there, I don’t want any problems.
I always always always get the chili onion mustard and an All-Around (relish, onion & mustard). And I always wash those down with an order of chili cheese fries.
Frankie’s Pizza since 1955
Do you wanna talk iconic, now this is the place. And you can’t drive by and not stare up at the sign and reminisce about it and how beautiful it is.
My late godmother would buy us (my sister and I) pizza from Frankie’s as a special weekend treat.
Now many years later, I’m still a fan of not only Frankie’s but also of its owners Renee and Roxanne, super cool folks. I’m in love with the pepperoni slices at Frankie’s, real love, not that love at first sight nonsense.
Frankie’s Pizza Food
Rio Cristal since 1974
The minute you step into Rio Cristal, you wonder if you’ve walked through a time portal to the early ’80s, but that is part of its charm. Unfortunately, Rio Cristal’s founder Jose C. Acosta, or Pepe as he was known to all, passed away.
He was also the founder of Lila’s and the creator of one of the most visually arresting dishes in South Florida, the palomilla steak hidden under a mound of papitas, aka #51.
The other must-have is their flan; it’s ridiculous.
Rio Cristal’s Food
Sergio’s since 1975
How much do I love Sergio’s? I don’t think there is a number that reaches that high.
My family and I have been eating at this particular location for what seems like forever, and that’s probably the case. Give me a pan con tortilla, a bistec empanizado, some croquetas and I’m good to go!
Tropical Chinese since 1984
I’ve never eaten at Tropical Chinese, but it’s important to include them. I know many people who think this is the best Chinese food in South Florida and make a trek here just to have the dim sum.
It’s about time I check it out, don’t you think?
Things to See and Do in Westchester, Florida
If you’re looking for a few things to do, Westchester has them, and I’m not even counting whatever is going on at Tropical Park and FIU.
Bird Bowl since 1956
I’ve been bowling at Bird Bowl since I could barely put on my shoes. In addition to bowling, Bird Bowl has a game room, a bar, a restaurant, and billiards.
In other words, something for everyone.
La Tiendecita by Martha of Miami
The South Florida sensation that is Martha of Miami opened her shop right down the street from Arbetter’s. Come by and check out why Martha is the queen of la sagüesera.
Only in Dade
If you’re a really observant Westchester-ian then you know that Only in Dade‘s headquarters are conveniently located between Mojo Donuts and Frankie’s Pizza.
I certainly suggest that you grab something to eat while at PINCHO, but make sure to check out the great mural dedicated to the history of Westchester. I’m included, by the way!
Sure, the Colombian food at Pueblito Viejo is excellent, but it’s the live entertainment on the weekends that makes it a must-stop destination.
The BEAST suggests these Westchester Eats
It’s very simple; here are some dishes I suggest you try.
|3 Chefs & a Chicken||Chefen|
|Breadman Bakery||Pizza Pastel|
|CAO Bakery||Guava Pastelitos|
|Cayo Esquivel||Camarones al Ajillo|
|Chifa Du Kang||Chaufa Especial|
|Dos Croquetas||Buffalo Crack Croquetas|
|El Atlakat||Super Antojitos Atlakat|
|El Chalan||Lomo Saltado|
|El Floridita||Tostones Rellenos|
|El Maguey||Enchiladas Suizas|
|El Palacio de los Jugos||Chicharrones|
|El Rey de las Fritas||Frita Cubana|
|Kon Chau||Dim Sum|
|La Brasa||1/2 Rotisserie Chicken|
|La Carreta||Cafe con Leche & Tostadas|
|Le Fournil||Cheese Pastelito|
|La Sin Rival||Ham Croquetas|
|Luis Galindo Latin American||Medianoche|
|Mi Ronconcito Latino||Bistec Milanesa|
|Mojito’s||Chicharrones de Pollo|
|Mojo Donuts & Fried Chicken||Apple Fritter|
|Munchies Cafe||Ham Croquetas|
|Night Owl Cookies||Ave Maria Cookie|
|Odaly’s Delight Cafe||Discos Voladores|
|Party Cake Bakery||Cuban Bread Roll|
|Punjab Indian Cafe||Curry Chicken|
|Sarussi Cafe Subs||Sarussi Churrasco Sub|
|SpecialTEA Lounge||Any of their Baked Goods|
|Sports Grill||Special Grilled Wings|
|Tasca de España||Tortilla Española|
Gone but NOT Forgotten Westchester Restaurants
All of these restaurants were at one time located in or had locations in Westchester.
|A&W Drive-In||Empty Lot (10995 SW 40th Street)|
|Arthur Treacher’s||El Rinconcito Latino (SW 40th St)|
|Black Angus||La Carreta|
|Boston Market||Maspons Funeral Homes|
|Burger Castle||Chevron (SW 40th St)|
|Burger Castle||Burger King (SW 87th Ave)|
|Carvel Ice Cream||La Carreta Strip Mall|
|Charlie’s Pizza||One Low Price Cleaning|
|China Maid||Don Pan|
|Circus Wagon||Don Pan|
|Dairy Queen||Bird Road Car Accessories|
|Dinner Maid||Jemay 3D|
|El Arte Bakery||Navarro Pharmacy (Bird Road)|
|El Cristo||Senior Center Adult Day Care II|
|Godfather’s Pizza||1First Bank|
|Kenny Roger’s Roasters||Cayo Esquivel|
|Original Latin American||Pasteur Medical Center (Coral Way & 97th Ave)|
|Islas Canarias||Fatty Cow Hot Pot Buffet|
|Latin Cafe 2000||3 Chefs and a Chicken|
|Little Caesar’s||One Low Price Cleaning|
|Long John Silver’s||El Rinconcito Latino (SW 40th St)|
|LUMS||Pier 1 Imports|
|Mister Donut||McDonald’s (2300 SW 87th Ave)|
|Molina||Empty Lot (10995 SW 40th Street)|
|Norman’s Market||Frankie’s Pizza|
|Pollo Supremo||El Rinconcito Paisa #4|
|Pollo Supremo||Rick Gonzalez State Farm Insurance|
|Rio Cristal II||Sports Grill|
|Royal Castle||Citibank (SW 40th St)|
|Royal Castle||CVS Pharmacy|
|Scott’s Fried Chicken||Cool Beautiful Nails|
|Shiver’s||El Rinconcito Paisa #4|
|Sizzler||CAC Florida Medical Center|
|Sonny’s BBQ||Shorty’s BBQ|
|Villa Italia||El Floridita|
|WAG’s/Jerry’s||CVS Pharmacy (Coral Way & 87th Ave)|
|Westward Ho||Rainbow Shops|