Special Features — 13 September 2019
Looking back on long-lost restaurants

Staff report

The face of South Florida is constantly changing, and that means that even the most iconic spots can sometimes disappear. Take a look back at some of the restaurants that were once synonymous with the area but are now no longer around. (See all the photos on pgs. 73-78 of our digital edition, http://digitaledition.qwinc.com/publication/?i=617740)

Armadillo Café

Eastsiders, normally reluctant to drive west of Interstate 95, beat a path to Davie for Chef Kevin McCarthy’s black-and-white soup and jalapeño corn fritters at the restaurant he opened in 1988 just south of Griffin on Davie Road. The restaurant thrived for 13 years until a drug store wanted the space. McCarthy subsequently moved the restaurant to locations on University Drive in Davie, Federal Highway in Dania Beach and, finally, to Glades Road in Boca Raton, where it closed permanently in 2016.  (Pam Susemiehl / Sun Sentinel)

Burt & Jack’s

Founded by actor Burt Reynolds and restauranteur Jack Jackson, Burt & Jack’s offered scenic views and gigantic steaks inside Port Everglades. It closed in 2002. (Joann Vitelli / Sun Sentinel)

Ernie’s Bar-B-Q

Ernie’s Bar-B-Q in Fort Lauderdale, which opened as “Dirty Ernie’s” bar in 1957 and became renowned for its conch chowder, Bimini bread sandwiches and quirky anti-tax slogans on the walls, “closed for repairs” in March 2017 after 60 years in business. New owners refurbished and reopened the space as Andy’s Live Fire Grill and Bar in December 2018. The only nod to Ernie’s, dining critic Mike Mayo said, “comes with a sign pointing to the “original rooftop bar” and a staircase lined with photos saluting classic, independent Fort Lauderdale landmarks. (Mike Mayo/ Sun Sentinel) and, detail of black and white photo (Sun Sentinel photo)

The French Quarter

The French Quarter restaurant in Fort Lauderdale was widely considered one of the region’s top restaurants during its existence, which ended when the spot was closed in 2006. Many diners had fond memories of the dessert cart, which included Bananas Foster served tableside with considerable ceremony and panache. (Pam Susemiehl / Sun Sentinel)


Lum’s was founded as a hot dog cart in 1956 in Miami Beach, and by the early ’70s there were more than 400 locations around the world. The original Miami Beach location closed in 1983, and most others followed, with the last location in Omaha, Neb., closing in 2017. (State Archives of Florida)

Mango’s Fort Lauderdale

The original Mangos, which lasted 25 years in Fort Lauderdale, “featured live music and a casual, boozy vibe with a Florida-Caribbean menu of burgers, fish sandwiches and wings that was popular with tourists and locals,” Dining critic Mike Mayo says. A rebooted version of the restaurant reopened in February 2018 – only to close four months later. Pizza Italia, featuring new owners, a new concept and a new name, opened on the old Las Olas Boulevard location in February 2019. (Mike Mayo / Sun Sentinel)


R-Donuts, a topless snack shop in Fort Lauderdale, gained international attention when it opened in 1985. By 1990 it had closed following the death of its owner. (Lou Toman / Sun Sentinel)

La Vielle Maison

La Vielle Maison was the top spot for French dining in Boca Raton for more than 30 years before it closed its doors in 2006. It was the last of a South Florida fine-dining empire operated over five decades by the late restaurateur Leonce Picot, including his Down Under (1968-1996) and Casa Vecchia (1979-1994), both in Fort Lauderdale. (John L. White / Sun Sentinel)


Wolfie’s was Miami Beach’s go-to spot for real, New York-style deli from the 1950s until 2002 when it closed its doors for good. (Anastasia Walsh / Sun Sentinel)


The iconic restaurant at the corner of Oakland Park Boulevard and the Intracoastal Waterway was a hit with tourists and locals. Sadly, it closed in the early 2000s. (Sun Sentinel file)


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