Many Things to do in my Hometown of Westchester in Miami

If you’ve read my blog over the last 12 years for any period or followed me on FacebookInstagram, 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 Street) 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.

Westchester Boundaries
Westchester Boundaries – The Miami Herald June 22nd, 2000

My Westchester Bullet Points

Entering Westchester Sign
Entering Westchester Sign
  • 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 a fan 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 even do my Burger Popups at the Mojo Donuts in Westchester every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month.

I’m a Westchester guy through and through; I always will be.

Publix in The Miami News May 12, 1960
Westchester Publix in The Miami News May 12, 1960

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.

Arbetter’s Food

Arbetter's Famous Chili Dog, Best Hot Dog in Miami
Chili & Onion Dog (Pork-Beef Dog)
Corn Dog
Corn Dog
Arbetter Chili Cheese Fries
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 Pizza 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

Ground Beef & Pepperoni Pizza
Ground Beef & Pepperoni Pizza
Sausage & Onion Pizza
Sausage & Onion Pizza
Pepperoni Pizza
Frankie’s Pepperoni Pizza

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

Pansito from Rio Cristal in Miami, Florida
#51 Bistec from Rio Cristal in Miami, Florida
Rio Cristal #51 Bistec

Sergio’s since 1975

Sergios on Bird Road
Sergio’s on Bird Road

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!

Sergio’s Food

Empanadas from Sergio's Restaurant in Miami, Florida
Pan con Tortilla from Sergio's Restaurant in Miami, Florida
Pan con Tortilla

Tropical Chinese since 1984

Tropical Chinese
Tropical Chinese

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

Pins at Bird Bowl
Pins at Bird Bowl

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

La Tiendecita by Martha of Miami
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

Only In Dade at Live Colors in Westchester
Only In Dade at Live Colors in Westchester
image courtesy of Sun-Sentinel

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.


PINCHO Westchester Mural
Westchester Mural at PINCHO

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!

Pueblito Viejo

Pueblito Viejo #2 in Westchester, Florida
Pueblito Viejo

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

Breadman Bakery's Pizza Pastel
Breadman Bakery‘s Pizza Pastel

It’s very simple; here are some dishes I suggest you try.

3 Chefs and a ChickenChefen
Breadman BakeryPizza Pastel
CAO BakeryGuava Pastelitos
Cayo EsquivelCamarones al Ajillo
Chifa Du KangChaufa Especial
Don DomingoEmpanadas
Dos CroquetasBuffalo Crack Croquetas
El AtlakatSuper Antojitos Atlakat
El ChalanLomo Saltado
El FloriditaTostones Rellenos
El MagueyEnchiladas Suizas
El Palacio de los JugosChicharrones
El Rey de las FritasFrita Cubana
Flanigan’sTexas Burger
Kon ChauDim Sum
La Brasa1/2 Rotisserie Chicken
La CarretaCafe con Leche & Tostadas
Le FournilCheese Pastelito
La Sin RivalHam Croquetas
Luis Galindo Latin AmericanMedianoche
Mi Ronconcito LatinoBistec Milanesa
Mojito’sChicharrones de Pollo
Mojo Donuts & Fried ChickenApple Fritter
Munchies CafeHam Croquetas
Night Owl CookiesAve Maria Cookie
Odaly’s Delight CafeDiscos Voladores
Party Cake BakeryCuban Bread Roll
Punjab Indian CafeCurry Chicken
Sarussi Cafe SubsSarussi Churrasco Sub
SpecialTEA LoungeAny of their Baked Goods
Sports GrillSpecial Grilled Wings
Taco RicoNachos
Tasca de EspañaTortilla Española

Gone but NOT Forgotten Westchester Restaurants in Miami

Charlie's Pizza ad from September 17, 1987
Charlie’s Pizza ad from September 17, 1987

All of these restaurants were at one time located in or had locations in Westchester.

A&W Drive-InEmpty Lot (10995 SW 40th Street)
Arthur Treacher’sEl Rinconcito Latino (SW 40th St)
Black AngusLa Carreta
Boston MarketMaspons Funeral Homes
Burger CastleChevron (SW 40th St)
Burger CastleBurger King (SW 87th Ave)
Carvel Ice CreamLa Carreta Strip Mall
Casa Paco
Charlie’s PizzaOne Low Price Cleaning
China MaidDon Pan
Circus WagonDon Pan
Dairy QueenBird Road Car Accessories
Dinner MaidJemay 3D
El Arte BakeryNavarro Pharmacy (Bird Road)
El CristoSenior Center Adult Day Care II
G.A.B.E.’s1First Bank
Godfather’s Pizza1First Bank
Hardee’sPollo Tropical
Kenny Roger’s RoastersCayo Esquivel
Original Latin AmericanPasteur Medical Center (Coral Way & 97th Ave)
Islas CanariasDiced
Latin Cafe 20003 Chefs and a Chicken
Lila’sHome Depot
Little Caesar’sOne Low Price Cleaning
Long John Silver’sEl Rinconcito Latino (SW 40th St)
LUMSAPS Institute of South Florida
Mister DonutMcDonald’s (2300 SW 87th Ave)
MolinaEmpty Lot (10995 SW 40th Street)
Norman’s MarketFrankie’s Pizza
Pollo SupremoEl Rinconcito Paisa #4
Pollo SupremoRick Gonzalez State Farm Insurance
Rio Cristal IISports Grill
Royal CastleCitibank (SW 40th St)
Royal CastleCVS Pharmacy
Scott’s Fried ChickenCool Beautiful Nails
Shiver’sEl Rinconcito Paisa #4
SizzlerCAC Florida Medical Center
Sonny’s BBQShorty’s BBQ
Villa ItaliaEl Floridita
WAG’s/Jerry’sCVS Pharmacy (Coral Way & 87th Ave)
Westward HoRainbow Shops

4 thoughts on “Many Things to do in my Hometown of Westchester in Miami”

  1. Black Angus (on 104) was my Mom’s favorite restaurant to go out to when we went as a family. I liked the super sugary Bronco Cooler.


Leave a Comment