Lime Fresh Mexican returning to its original SoBe spot

Patrick Farrell

Ever since Lime, the Miami-based taqueria that started off in South Beach, got bought up by Ruby Tuesday, Miami kind of gave up on the homegrown chain. But Grant Gussin, owner of the remaining franchises, wants to change that. Gussin, who operates the Dadeland, Doral and West Kendall spots, is currently in the process of opening three more Lime Fresh Mexican Grills in Midtown, North Miami and, yep, its original location on Alton Road in South Beach.

If you didn’t know the tale of the rise and fall of Lime Fresh, pull up a chair, children and listen:

Lime Fresh was once a South Beach institution. Created in 2004 by restaurateur John Kunkel, the 800 square foot sliver of a taqueria at 1439 Alton Road, was a local favorite where the parking sucked, but the tacos rocked.

But by 2012, Ruby Tuesday, the culinary tent pole for every mall in America, made Kunkel an offer he couldn’t refuse. Off went Lime and its 10 outposts to the home of the all you can eat garden bar for a whopping $24 million. By the time Kunkel cashed his check and went on to take over Miami’s culinary scene with Yardbird and Swine with his 50 Eggs Group. While he was busy triumphing, Ruby Tuesday managed to ruin Lime for everybody. By 2016, Ruby Tuesday closed or sold their Lime properties off.

In the meantime Gussin held on to his franchises, which were not included in the original sale to Ruby Tuesday and has been trying to outrun the cloud of Ruby Tuesday’s failure.  He is making the restaurant return to its roots, literally. The new 800-square-foot Lime will open in its original South Beach location in January.

“We have been looking for a location on South Beach for some time now,” Gussin said. “We are so excited to return to the same location where it all began and to be back on the Beach.”

To celebrate LIME’s return to South Beach, the new location offer the original 2004 menu and pricing for two weeks, the original uniforms worn by the restaurant staff – and images will adorn the walls commemorating the people and events that defined 2004.  Guests will enjoy a journey back in time to when Lime was first launched. Ah, the halcyon days.

“In addition, after 14 years, several of LIME’s original South Beach employees, who are now working at other LIME locations throughout Miami-Dade County, will be returning to work at the original location,” added Gussin. “We pride ourselves on our dedication to both our employees and our guests.”

The South Beach location will be open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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