Pavilion from the Ocean

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'A bloodbath’: Brutal summer spells doom for Miami restaurants

No one will tell you the restaurant business is easy. But it rarely seems this hard.
More than 20 high-profile restaurants have closed in Miami-Dade in recent weeks, outpacing the clip of new openings and putting operators on edge as they head into the year’s slowest months.
The closures have snuffed out restaurants big and small — from a celebrity chef’s 400-seater in South Beach (Siena Tavern) to a mom-and-pop seafood spot in North Miami (Fish Fish) — at various price brackets and serving all kinds of food. No place, it seems, is immune.
“It’s a bloodbath,” said Chris Sommers, co-owner of Pi Pizzeria, a St. Louis-based chain that closed at 124 Collins Ave. in Miami Beach last week after fewer than three months in business.
“Our timing was bad, opening with the start of the slow season, but this is obviously unusual,” Sommers said. “Perhaps we could have persevered to the high season, but the high season would have needed to be so high to offset this incredible low. We decided to cut our losses and reinvest in another store near Washington, D.C.”
Only two of more than 20 restaurants that have shut here since May 1 had been open longer than five years: Maiko Sushi, which opened in 1992 at 1225 Washington Ave. in Miami Beach and closed last month, and Romeo’s Cafe, which opened in 1998 at 2257 SW 22nd St. in Miami and closed in May.
Rising rents and South Florida’s tourist-reliant seasonal economy are often cited as reasons for restaurant failures, but industry observers say some restaurateurs simply create bad concepts, pick lousy locations or have poor execution.

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