South Miami

Popular Chinese restaurant closes in South Miami

Those looking to order takeout from a popular Chinese restaurant in South Miami are faced with disconnected phone numbers and a small cardboard sign that reads, “Sorry. We’re closed.”

New Chinatown restaurant, 5958 S. Dixie Hwy., closed its doors about a month ago after more than 30 years in business.

The restaurant sold the property, which included Swim Bike & Run, to Greenstreet Real Estate Partners for nearly $5.7 million in October 2013. The new owner will redevelop the property into a mixed retail-office space.

South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard said the restaurant will be missed.

“It’s been people’s favorite for a long time,” he said. “[They’ve] told me they’re sad to see it go, even people outside of South Miami.”

For many nearby residents, New Chinatown was their go-to Chinese restaurant.

Jorge Munoz, had been a loyal customer for about 15 years.

“It was the only place that I found that was close to” New York Chinese food, he said. Munoz said he probably ate at the restaurant once a week, and found out through Twitter that it had closed permanently.

A typical order for Munoz included steaming wonton soup, pork fried rice and honey garlic chicken.

Former South Miami mayor and current president of Chamber South Mary Scott Russell said her son also loved the restaurant’s honey garlic chicken.

She said a proposal to redevelop the property with New Chinatown never panned out in the past.

“That corner is prime for redevelopment,” Scott Russell said.

Stoddard said that although it’s too early to know what will replace the restaurant and retail space, he’s hoping it will be “something good and interesting.”

The Comras Co. is handling the leasing and marketing for the project. Michael Comras, president and CEO of Comras, said the property will be redeveloped into 15,000 square feet of retail, with on-site parking and the potential for office space above.

The redevelopment will be complete in about a year, he said.

Scott Russell said the restaurant had become a dining destination in the area, often attracting community leaders.

“They had the vision and foresight in South Miami,” she said. “They were the first ones. Most [restaurants] haven’t been around that long.”

The property’s former owners could not be reached for comment.