The tiny northeast Miami-Dade town of Bay Harbor Islands has gone through an awakening. No longer a quiet stepping stone between Miami and the barrier islands, business is booming here. Condos are moving onto the waterfront, including Bijou Bay Harbor, 101 Bay Harbor, Opus Bay Harbor and Sereno, joining more than a dozen more. Beyond the luxurious properties, people are drawn to Bay Harbor’s sense of community. Children run through the splash pad at Officer Scott A. Winters Park. Restaurant owners and shopkeepers along Kane Concourse know their customers by name. Location is key, too, with Bal Harbour Shops directly to the east and mainland Miami to the west. They’re all connected by Bay Harbor Islands’ Broad Causeway, named after Shepard Broad, who founded the town 71 years ago.
Meet Our Guide: Mark Pordes, CEO of Pordes Residential
Two of the town’s newest luxury developments — Bijou Bay Harbor and 101 Bay Harbor — are being sold and marketed by Pordes Residential. At the helm is CEO Mark Pordes, who has spent the past year watching Bay Harbor Islands grow. But not necessarily up. High-rises are a no-no here, an ordinance meant to maintain Bay Harbor Islands’ quaint persona, Pordes said. “It’s definitely a neighborhood that is up and coming with all of these projects underway,” he said. “It really is in a transition.”
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A Top Condo in Bay Harbor Islands
“At Bijou Bay Harbor, the location is very exciting because it’s about a block to Bal Harbour Shops. It’s scheduled to be completed by the third quarter of 2019.” 9521 East Bay Harbor Drive; 305-864-2220; bijoubayharbor.com.
Dinner at Paon Eatery
“People in the area like Paon Eatery because it’s tapas-style, small little bites. It’s one of the favorites among residents. 1076 Kane Concourse; 786-348-0672; paoneatery.com.
Hometown Favorite: Bay Harbor Drugs
“Bay Harbor Drugs has been around forever. They’re your local, old-fashioned drug store. Typically when you go to the bigger stores, you don’t get that personalized service.” 1015 Kane Concourse; 305-397-8319.
Roll into Asia Bay
“The food presentation at Asia Bay is beautiful. It’s delicious sushi in a hip restaurant. I love the hamachi roll, it’s just outstanding.” 1007 Kane Concourse; 305-861-2222; asiabayrestaurants.com.
An Essential Steakhouse: The Palm
“The Palm is one of the best steakhouses, period. It’s been there for 30 years. You get a card when you become a regular, which means you’re part of their elite 837 Club.” 9650 East Bay Harbor Drive; 305-868-7256; thepalm.com/restaurants/miami.
Emilio’s Trattoria for Superior Spaghetti
“For fantastic Italian food, it’s Emilio’s Trattoria. It has a boutique, modern feel, but it’s not crazy pricing. The spaghetti carbonara is awesome.” 1088 Kane Concourse; 305-865-8989; emiliostrattoriabayharbor.com.
Unico Cafe for a Quick Snack
“Unico Café is a little family-owned coffee shop. They have croissants, coffees, pastries, that type of place. I like the empanadas there.” 1065 95th Street; 305-397-8808; unicocafe.eat24hour.com.
Take the Kids to Winters Park
“Officer Scott A. Winters Park is very kid-friendly. There is a beautiful playground with a nice water feature where the water pops up from the ground. My 2-year-old son, Mason, loves to go there.” 1135 98th Street; 305-866-6241; bayharborislands-fl.gov/winters-park.
Where School is Cool
“One of the main reasons why people buy in Bay Harbor is because the Ruth K. Broad Bay Harbor K-8 Center is rated one of the best schools in Miami-Dade County for public schools.” 1155 93rd Street; 305-865-7912; rkbbayharbor.dadeschools.net.
For Peace and Quiet
“The Morris N. Broad Community Center has an 8,000-square-foot library. They also have a whole arts and craft center within the community center — and it’s free.” 1175 95th Street; 786-646-9970; bayharborislands-fl.gov/Morris-n-broad-community-center.
Find Your Zen at Fly Yoga
“Fly Yoga is a studio that’s open for all ages, with excellent instructors. It’s a hot spot, for sure.” 1037 Kane Concourse; 305-866-2600; flyyogamiami.com.