Food

This Lincoln Road restaurant was a scene for almost 20 years. Now it’s closing.

Sushisamba Miami Beach will close in December 2019.
Sushisamba Miami Beach will close in December 2019.

One of Lincoln Road’s oldest restaurants won’t live to see the New Year.

Sushisamba, open in the heart of Miami Beach’s popular outdoor mall since 2001, will close in December rather than renew its lease, according to a filing with the state of Florida. Skyrocketing rent appears to blame.

The restaurant’s ownership, Orange Brands Management, filed paperwork with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity on Oct. 8 as a requirement of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification act. The restaurant’s lease expires Dec. 22 and it will close permanently, the filing states.

Cosplay at Sushisamba
Remember Cosplay Tuesdays? Well, that’s over.

The filing also serves notice to at least 53 employees that they will be laid off.

Sushisamba was part of Lincoln Road’s transformation from low-rise, souvenir-store strip mall to a downtown center for shopping and dining when it opened in November of 2001. Its Brazilian cuisine foundation, with Japanese and Peruvian influences, made it a perfect fit for multicultural Miami.

Now rents there are untouchable for all but global brands such as Apple and The Gap. Lincoln Road is averaging about $300 a square foot, according to a Miami Herald real estate story, meaning Sushisamba likely was facing rent of nearly $100,000 a month.

Sushisamba was a scene. Its expansive outdoor dining area and colorful, dynamic lounge inside made it popular both with the after-work crowd and out-of-town visitors who wanted a Miami Beach vibe.

sushi samba
Take one last look.

After Yuca and Rosinella, it is one of the longest-running restaurants on Lincoln Road. But rising rents and properties sold and resold have meant mostly national brands have been able to afford space on the walkable mall that remains a tourist magnet.

Sushisamba has five other locations, only one in the United States: Las Vegas.

Sushisamba

600 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach

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