Is MiMo Miami’s Next Hot Neighborhood?
MiMo, a 27-block stretch of Biscayne Boulevard in Miami’s Upper Eastside, is quietly emerging as the city’s next it neighborhood. In just the last few years, formerly run-down midcentury motels (some of which rented rooms by the hour) and office buildings have been given new life as stylish lodgings, art galleries, restaurants, and boutiques. JS correspondent Paola Singer checks out the scene.
Miami’s Design District and Wynwood are still stealing the city’s neighborhood limelight, but MiMo, in the Upper Eastside, is a close third. Home to a largely intact medley of architectural styles—1920s Mediterranean Revival, 1930s Art Deco, Miami’s signature take on 50s and 60s Modernism—the area was declared a historic district in 2006, attracting developers with an eye for preservation. Now, you’ll find buzzy new restaurants, galleries, and shops in addition to leafy residential blocks lined with old houses that provide a unique snapshot of Miami’s architectural legacy. We scouted six favorite spots to check out the next time you’re in Magic City. Get there before everyone else does.
Restaurateur Mark Soyka first rose to culinary prominence when he opened News Café on Ocean Drive in 1988—Miami Beach’s epicenter during the early 90s heyday. Cafe Roval, his first opening in 15 years, is a buzz-worthy addition to MiMo’s burgeoning dining scene. The restaurant is housed in a historic coral-rock house done up with vintage oil paintings, chandeliers, and gilded mirrors. It’s the perfect setting for globally inspired dishes like Mediterranean mussels, sprouted chickpea cakes, and short-rib grilled cheese. Be warned: tables at the lavishly green outdoor patio are especially hard to come by during weekend brunch.
Latin favors and Southern comfort food come together at Loba, a cozy spot run by Colombian restaurateur Jessica Sanchez. Mouthwatering plates like slow-cooked baby back ribs with house-made barbecue glaze and whole red snapper with avocado, lime vinaigrette, and tostones (smashed fried green plantains) are served in a welcoming dining room with rustic wood paneling, framed mirrors, and a wall of shelves stocked with vintage finds.
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Designed by prominent architect Robert Swartburg (also responsible for the Delano South Beach), the 1950s Vagabond hotel was completely overhauled in 2014, and helped kickstart MiMo’s transformation. Few details remain from the original roadside motel save for the kitschy neon sign outside the entrance, a play on the original. Today, the ground-floor restaurant looks like something out of _The Jetsons—_albeit a very chic and toned-down version, with a bright white color palette, futuristic starburst chandeliers, and 50s-era furniture—while guest rooms are decorated with retro-inspired furnishings in vibrant colors like orange creamsicle and bright teal. The hotel’s heart and soul is the outdoor pool and bar, where locals gather for sunset cocktails.
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A stretch of industrial warehouses just off Biscayne Boulevard was recently turned into Miami’s hottest new center for art and design, Ironside. The venture by developer Ofer Mizrahi houses rows of showrooms for architects, designers, and visual artists, all arranged along a central piazza that features striking public works (look out for segments of the Berlin Wall painted by Thierry Noir) and a biodynamic community garden. Browse the handful of home décor boutiques onsite before hitting up the restaurant for wood-fired Neapolitan pies.
After nearly two decades in South Beach, this thrift wonderland relocated to a sunny corner space in MiMo, with its loyal clientele in tow. Inside, you’ll find luxury vintage items by Chanel, Missoni, Dior, and Versace displayed next to racks overflowing with Led Zeppelin concert tees, old military jackets, weathered Levi’s, and other casual cool finds. The shop also stocks one-of-a-kind furnishings, home accents, and all sorts of bric-a-brac like an electric-blue record player from the 1940s.
Trina Turk Miami
Set among Biscayne Boulevard’s mom-and-pop shops, the recently opened Trina Turk is the first high-end clothing boutique to open MiMo. You could spend an entire afternoon browsing its 4,500-square-feet, which are dedicated to the designer’s signature vibrant colors, bold prints, activewear and home accents, as well as a menswear line designed by Turk’s husband Jonathan Skow.
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