Mediterranean restaurant planned for former firehouse
By Risa Polansky
Firehouse 4 is closed, but by September, you will be able to call it open, said Carlos Galan, who plans to turn the vacant building near Mary Brickell Village into a Mediterranean restaurant and lounge called Dolores, But You Can Call Me Lolita.
The two-story venue — upstairs Dolores, downstairs Lolita — is to be modeled after Mr. Galan's four restaurants in Spain "with the same concept," he said — "very cozy, trendy and beautiful restaurants with affordable prices."
Mr. Galan owns the Antigua at Macarena restaurant, 1334 Washington Ave. in Miami Beach.
Firehouse lease holder Larry Harris' two-restaurant operation, Salero and Mosaico, had little success in the building at 1000 S. Miami Ave. and was "not producing sufficient revenue to make that concept work," said Laura Billberry, director of public facilities for the City of Miami, which owns the building.
Mr. Harris is in the process of transferring the lease to Mr. Galas, who said he expects to have the keys to the building in two weeks.
Lease manager Peter Kendrick would not confirm a timetable but said documents are awaiting review by the city attorney.
According to the lease, which is to expire in 2012, the tenant is to pay the city $7,000 a month plus additional fees based on revenues. The city also is to get 6.5% of sales of more than $2.4 million annually.
The new restaurant and lounge could open as early as July, Mr. Galan said. The city has set a September deadline for the building to be reopened.
Mr. Galan said he is confident he can overcome a history of failed restaurants that has plagued the location.
Mosaico "was the wrong concept," Mr. Galan said. "It was a very fancy concept for that area at that time."
Mediterranean-fusion dishes at Dolores, But You Can Call Me Lolita, he said, will "take care of the stomach and the wallet of the client."
Lounge food will run $14-$15 and "chill-out music and cocktails" are to set the mood in the 11,097-square-foot 1920s-vintage former firehouse, Mr. Galan said.
With the opening of restaurants and shops in Mary Brickell Village, the area is "going to be like Lincoln Road," he said. "It will be one of the best corners in Miami."
As Mary Brickell Village continues to fill and several neighboring restaurants become more popular, parking in the area could become an issue. Currently, area streets have metered parking and a valet service shuttles cars to the Mary Brickell Village parking garage, which is not open for self parking.