After almost two decades in business, Lincoln Road mainstay Van Dyke Cafe (est. 1994) is really, actually closing. Rumors have persisted for years that the former sibling of Ocean Drive's News Cafe was closing in favor of the allure of retail money. In fact, on December 11, that rumor resurfaced and the restaurant's publicist JennyLee Molina told us, "Same rumor that has been around and back. They extended the lease for another 3 years. The owners changed about a year ago (Graspa leases but doesn't own building) and the rumor has continued to spread, but in 3 years all that can change, you know?"
Yup, we know. Because today, Molina has confirmed that this rumor is now truth. While we don't know if it's Ambercrombie & Fitch, LuLuLemon, or some other mall-chain that will be opening in there, we do know something retaily is taking over. "We won't know when Van Dyke's last day is until the end of January. We were hoping they [the landlords] wouldn't find a tenant, but after discussing the options with the new landlord, it seems they'll [Van Dyke] be there until the end of the season now. They [Graspa] are also exploring options that wouldn't be concrete until after the new year, but good things."
So, will Van Dyke relocate? "It's all being discussed," Molina told us. With Graspa's other beach-based restaurant Spris spreading onto the mainland, with one Spris Pizza newly opened in downtown and the other in Midtown, some may suspect Van Dyke looking to establish roots somewhere over the causeway as well, though, adds Molina, "Lincoln Road is the heart of [Van Dyke parent company] Graspa."
Lincoln Road, we hardly recognize ye. But, like a typical nipped, tucked and label-obsessed Miamian, it still fits right in.
UPDATE, 1/14/14: Van Dyke is turning into a Lululemon Athletica. It's confirmed. That's all. Sigh.
The restaurant will serve its final food and drinks Sunday, January 26 and will have a closing party from 5 p.m. on. Here is the official closing statement which emphasizes that they will open a smaller version of the original somewhere, sometime in the spring. Stay tuned.
On behalf of Van Dyke Café
After 20 years of serving South Florida, Van Dyke Café will be closing on Sunday, January 26, 2014 with a celebration in honor of the memories we have created together. We thank all our loyal customers, staff, music directors and musicians that made both Van Dyke Café and Upstairs at Van Dyke one of the most special places on Lincoln Road.
We first opened our café in the historic Van Dyke building in 1994 and have been proudly serving Miami residents for nearly two decades. When Van Dyke Café opened its doors, Lincoln Road was just becoming the travel destination it is today, bustling with outdoor eateries -- perfect for people watching and enjoying the South Florida weather.
In the spirit of Van Dyke Café, Soyka Restaurant will continue with a similar live music program on weekends. We hope you will consider Soyka not only for a great meal but also to enjoy great live music by some of South Florida’s best.
To celebrate our history and honor our loyal patrons, we will be hosting a celebration on January 26 from 5 to closing. Please come by and enjoy a complimentary toast and let’s reminisce the good times! We would like to extend a deep and heartfelt thank you to our dedicated staff and our loyal patrons.
But there may be a silver lining with this closing, we are very working hard with our landlord to find space within the Van Dyke complex so that we can keep the Van Dyke Cafe spirit alive by opening a smaller version, hopefully sometime in the spring!