A year ago, the changing fates of Bookstore in the Grove mirrored the ups and downs of a thriller. First, the owner announced it was closing due to the rising cost of rent, and much of Miami mourned.
Then, a savior emerged: LointerHome bought the property at 3390 Mary St. with plans to renovate and reopen. There was even a party celebrating its future with wine and menu samples by Chef Adriana Egozcue, formerly of Eating House.
But that space now sits empty, brown paper on the windows.
The good news is the Bookstore in the Grove isn’t gone; it has risen, like a phoenix from Cocowalk construction ashes, to new life as bookstore & kitchen. The business has moved to a more pedestrian-friendly spot at 3444 Main Highway, in the former Akashi space – ironically across and just down the street from the new Books & Books location at 3409 Main Highway.
Amanda De Seta, founder of LointerHome, says Cocowalk renovation made a move necessary and that the old space will probably be converted to office space.
“We needed to be in a more central location,” she says. “We really saw the decrease in foot traffic. The construction made it increasingly hard to get people to that end of the complex.”
At first glance, bookstore & kitchen seems more kitchen than book store. But walk behind the cafe, and you’ll find the books in a bright, small space.
De Seta doesn’t see Books & Books as a threat to her concept.
“Books & Books is great at what they do – they do an amazing job. What we do is hyper focused on eclectic stuff – kids’ books, stuff from the MOMA design store, lines you find specficially in Europe. We’re quirky.”
Egozcue still curates the cafe’s menu. The breakfast and lunch menu includes egg sandwiches and blueberry breakfast cake. There are also sandwiches, cheeseburgers, soups, gourmet salads and the requisite avocado toast (on bread from Zak the Baker). Nummies Bake Shop provides baked goods.
The kitchen has also started opening for dinner on Thursdays and Fridays and may soon open on Saturdays, De Seta says. Egozcue’s specialties include snapper tiradito, braised shortribs and a unique gazpacho with strawberries and tomatoes.
The cafe is also open for brunch in the courtyard next to the cafe, De Seta says. Her nine-year-old daughter Pierson will be opening her first business this summer in that courtyard, selling flavored lemonade at her pop-up shop The Teeny Tiny Barnacle.
Now, if Miami summer would just cooperate, everything would be perfect.
“It would be awesome if it would stop raining,” De Seta says wryly. “But one thing we’ve learned – good Floridians will have brunch in the rain.”