Four More Miami Beach Sidewalk Cafés Face 24-hour Shutdown

Ocean Drive , Lincoln Road

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Four More Miami Beach Sidewalk Cafés Face 24-hour Shutdown:

Restaurants cited for violating city's anti-hawking measures

Three Ocean Drive sidewalk cafés and one on Lincoln Road are facing a 24-hour shutdown following their second violation of Miami Beach’s new anti-hawking requirements. They are Caffe Milano, Kantina, and Carlyle Café on Ocean Drive and Taverna on Lincoln Road. No date has been set yet for the latest closures.

Following complaints about aggressive hawking, Miami Beach made sidewalk café permits dependent on operators signing a Code of Conduct that, among other things, prohibits solicitation. The new regulations – which carry hefty penalties for multiple violations – have been in effect on Ocean Drive since late September and on Lincoln Road and Española Way since end of October

Six Ocean Drive cafés had to close for 24 hours on a Thursday in mid-October after receiving at least two violations and one of them, Boulevard, is now under a settlement agreement after racking up four citations.

Last month, we noted the number of violations and appeals. The first appeal hearing date was December 19 but the six businesses on the calendar were no shows and the violations were upheld by the Special Master. Notably, all of the businesses appealing their first violations in December were operated by restaurateur Stefano Frittella. The three sidewalk cafés now facing the one-day shutdown for a second violation were among those on the Special Master’s calendar. (The other three were Social, Icon, and Ocean 7.)

RE:MiamiBeach reached out to Frittella about the violations and the anti-hawking ordinance in general. He noted, “In general, everything is fine. I think it’s okay. I have no problem with it.” Asked about the latest violations at Caffe Milano, Kantina, and Carlyle Café and the pending closures, Frittella said he was just arriving back in Miami after being in Europe for the past month and was not aware of the violations. He did not respond to a follow-up call seeking comment.

Penalties for violating the code of conduct are $500 for the first violation; $750 for a second violation within the preceding 12 months; a third violation within 12 months includes the suspension of the sidewalk café permit for one weekend (Saturday and Sunday) and a $1,000 fine. The fourth violation in a year results in the revocation of the sidewalk café permit for the remaining portion of the permit year and a $1,250 fine. Operators with more than four violations in a permit year will lose their permit for two years. At his discretion, the City Manager can force operators to suspend operations for at least 24 hours until violations of the sidewalk café ordinance are corrected. 

There are 41 sidewalk café permits issued to Ocean Drive businesses. Of the 30 violations issued over the past two months, 19 different restaurants were cited. Sixteen of the 30 violations are currently under appeal. 

On Lincoln Road there are a total of 43 permitted sidewalk cafés. Five violations have been issued to four different operators since the Code of Conduct requirements went into effect there. Taverna at 719 Lincoln is among those facing a 24-hour shutdown of its sidewalk café for a second violation. They have indicated they will appeal.

Of the ten sidewalk cafés permitted on Española Way, four violations have been issued to four different restaurants.

Are the new penalties deterring hawking? On Sunday, December 1 around 11 am, this reporter was solicited by a hostess at Divine on Lincoln Road. When the response (politely!) was “You know you’re not allowed to do that, right?” The hostess gave a sheepish smile and shrugged her shoulders. While walking Ocean Drive from 8th to 13th on Wednesday afternoon, January 8 around 3 pm, this reporter observed two instances of solicitation of others at Il Giardino and Icon but, for the most part, hostesses either stood quietly by menu boards or simply said hello. Your experience may vary.