The Rumor Mill: Murmurs of more Miami restaurant, market closings and chef firings . . .

Summertime, and the livin’ in Miami’s not so easy, especially if you’re a restaurateur or in the food biz. The latest rumors surround closings of two establishments, one a venerable, almost landmark type food spot, and the other, not so much. 

First: Epicure. Yup. Rumors have been swirling for months now that South Beach and Sunny Isles locations are not long for this world. We reached out to owner Jason Starkman for comment after hearing from anonymous sources that he is trying to sell the lease at least for the South Beach location, to which he replied, “Just rumors. We recently marketed the property to see if there would be a potential play for subleasing some of our space due to the property value. That is all. If anything were to come of it, we would be relocating, never closing!” As for Sunny Isles, Starkman adds, “No change in Sunny Isles. Everything there is status quo.”

Second: Sarsaparilla Club at the Shelborne Wyndham Grand. A source tells us, “They’re about to pull the plug on Sarsaparilla any day now.” We contacted a rep for the Shelborne and one for the restaurant, both who confirmed that, at least at this time, the restaurant is not closing.

Third: The executive chef at The River Yacht Club has been fired due to “lack of menu selection, food quality, etc.” says a source.  Truth. In case you forgot, original executive chef Michael Lewis left two days before the restaurant opened to open his own, Wynwood hot spot KYU, leaving his assistant, Enrique Valdez to run the show. Valdez is now gone. True? Well, yes, but according to a RYC spokesperson, Valdez wasn’t fired. “Never has a chef been fired from RYC. RYC has a rotating resident cehf program, which was created to elevate an innovative approach to the restaurant’s epicurean profile by delivering seasonally driven mens . . . on July 15, we are pleased to announce that the summer-chef-in-residency is Alex Chang.” Chang, incidentally, just left The Vagabond “to travel the world and find new inspiration for his cuisine.”  From the Vagabond to RYC. Not exactly world travels, but there you have it.