The local media has been mourning the demise of Fu Manchu Chinese restaurant on 71st Street in Miami Beach, which shut its doors after a near record-setting 71 year run (only Joe's Stone Crab has been going longer). Longevity aside, however, Fu Manchu was a pretty lousy restaurant over the last decade at least.
More significant is the closing of Crystal Cafe, concluding a two-part, twelve year run on 41st Street in Miami Beach. Klime Kovaceski and his wife Huguette started the Cafe in August of 1994, and over the next decade built it into one of the most critically acclaimed restaurants in town. When Sal Dicembrino purchased the romantic dining establishment in 2004 he kept much of the New Continental menu intact, but eventually shifted the emphasis more towards Italian food. Kovaceski loyalists weren't happy, but the business still brought in a steady stream of clientele -- enough, in fact, that the optimistic Dicembrino had recently retooled Crystal's kitchen with new equipment. Sadly, a difficulty in paying the bills led to an abrupt departure at the end of August. Some disgruntled employees are still owed money.
Meanwhile, landlords Norman and Gail Divecht are currently busy meeting with potential new suitors for the restaurant space. Let's just hope Fu Manchu doesn't move in.-Lee Klein