Everything you needed to know about the restaurant George’s on Sunset is implied in its motto, posted in purple neon just inside the door: “If you don’t bring your lady to George’s, someone else will.”
It says, This is the kind of place you’d expect to find cougars and basic brunchers, karaoke and a disco ball, an ill-advised party waiting to break out where every night seemed like ladies’ night.
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As of this week, though, the party’s over.
Georges-Eric Farge, 48, who opened several long-running French restaurants in his 25 years in Miami, has closed George’s on Sunset. June 3 was its last day. He sold his stake in the business to his longtime business partner, former University of Miami quarterback Craig Erickson, who will reopen it this summer as Gringo’s Oyster Bar.
“After 25 years in the restaurant business, I need some time for myself,” said Farge, who raised two children (the younger of whom will enter college in the fall), while running his five South Florida restaurants.
Farge also opened one of the best-known French restaurants in Miami, Le Bouchon de Grove, which he sold to open two George’s restaurants with Erickson.
That restaurant, and later the one in Sunset, were a reflection of Farge himself: a rule-breaker who liked to cook good food but also liked to have a good time. “A black sheep,” he calls himself.
The restaurant promised “an exciting environment for all,” and welcomed all kinds of celebrations, including, according to the website, fake birthdays, lawsuits, getting fired and plastic surgeries, (“Boobs and More”).
However, competition from other restaurants heated up and George’s “became passé,” he said. When his daughter was set to graduate from Coral Reef, the last of his children would officially be adults and about to enter college. And he said he realized he was done with working for a while.
“They didn’t need me any more. They only need my credit card,” he joked.
Farge was to return to France Tuesday to visit family, then spend six months in Rio de Janeiro, where he will plan his next move, he said — perhaps a restaurant in Brazil.
“I feel this was the perfect time,” he said. “It was time to take a break.”