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Wednesday, August 28, 2013


     Last night I attended a small, North Grove meeting to figure out why the City is getting rid of Coconut Grove's coolest place, Scotty's Landing.  
A city official and a developer's attorney explained that Scotty's lease has ended and they plan to replaced it with a Shula's Steakhouse.  
    Voters will decide the issue in the November 5th election.  If the proposal wins, they will begin building new restaurants, shops and a parking garage on this public land. 
If the proposal is defeated, Scotty's Landing will stay as it is until the City can come up with a better plan.

   Last year Scott Wessel ("Scotty")  presented extensive plans to re-build and improve his restaurant. The City rejected them.   Last month, the city decided to let the Grove Bay Investment Group take over the site.
    Yes, I am simplifying the cordial, two-hour gathering, but that was basically it.   
   The developer's lawyer, Richard Perez, explained that his client, whose principals already have a Shula's Steakhouse and the Grove Harbor Marina, will be putting in about 100,000 sq. ft. of parking, restaurants, and retail shops on the seven-acre site.  
     I pointed out that we love Scotty's Landing, the Grove's only cheap, casual restaurant on the Biscayne Bay.
Yes, we want it upgraded  but don't want to lose it.   We love having a beer with a view like this. 
    Last night we were told the developers plan to build three restaurants: a steak house, a seafood place and a "casual" restaurant, one they call "Hanger 49".    The first two ("Shula's and "Oceano") are fairly high-end and will look out on the bay (Where Scotty's and the Charthouse are now).   
     And what about the casual place, the one they say will be for the people who love Scotty's?  They are sticking it out back, where the boats are stacked  now.  If you look over the "tourist dock'" and past the fueling station, you might see some water.
 Above are the three proposed restaurant sites.  "Hanger 49" is called "Hanger 42" above.
 The City does not get it.   
We love Scotty's. It's casual, funky charm represents what we love about Coconut Grove.   It sits on our village's best bay view.
Don't give it to Shula's Steakhouse.  Don't try "replacing Scotty's"  by giving us your boxy, fake hanger stuck in the boat parking lot (the rendering below). 
 It's an insult to all of us. 

    We need to organize.  We need to fight the City's proposal. 
   If you want to help, sign our group's MoveOn petition.  The link is 
If the link does not work for some reason, google "Moveon Stop Grove Harbor Petition" to find it.  

Please pass this around so others can sign the petition and help save Scotty's.
The Grove's coolest place doesn't have to disappear.

      I'm glad I attended the meeting.  It was hosted by friends.  I needed to hear their point-of-view. Unfortunately I did not agree with it.
I think they've been hanging out with jaded politicians and developers who don't care about the Grove, too long.
   Blinded by the light, they no longer see what could be.


  1. Please leave this Coconut Grove icon alone! The struggling masses deserve a beer on the bay, too.

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  3. I have been in the Grove since the late 60's and mid 70's. My mother had her office on the second floor of the office building located on the southwest corner of McFarlane and Main. Back then the Grove was known for two things, boating and the local artist’s community. After school I would come to my mother’s office and then venture out to places like Peacock Park and the local artist studio's. I did wood work with sculptor Adam Turtle, watched local painters in their studios and enjoyed the water front catching fish. Of course on Grand and Main they had all the head shops and boating supply stores. What most local politicians don't realize is that the waterfront of Biscayne Bay is for viewing on a pedestrian level, not as a once a month glass enclosed diner at Shula's or anywhere else. The waterfront is for the locals that partake in places like Scotty's on a weekly and as some boaters may tell you, daily basis. The waterfront is what draws locals as it is their back yard. Tourist will come to Shula's , eat a meal, say "that was nice" and not return for a long time. When I attend the Grove Art Festival with my wife we partake in the show and head to Scotty's for lunch. By the way, the Grove Art Festival has gotten way out of hand and wouldn't it be nice if there were actually real local artists selling their work. When friends from out of town visit we venture to Fairchild, the Grove or other local areas and usually end up at Scotty's for the food, view and atmosphere (not necessarily in that order). Scotty's is like a local Keys hangout and what Monty's was like in the mid 70's. A few months back we were having lunch at Scotty's and sitting next to us was a couple from Indiana (GO HOOSIERS), they explained that they loved the restaurant, the setting and the relaxed atmosphere. " Take that back to your corn fields". What the politicians don't understand because none of them have any education in architecture or city planning is this location is what defines a community. They don't need more shopping or high end restaurants in place of Scotty's. How's the Mayfair doing? Remember when it was a Winn Dixie? If I want to go to Shula's (don't think the steaks are that great anyway and overpriced for what you get) you can visit it in Ft. Lauderdale. To many seek to profit from developing this location but I can guarantee that in ten years the high end restaurants will be closed and the politicians will be deciding what to do with the water front property that is now vacant, does not have access for the public viewing and how to account for the loss tax revenue and free meals. As inferred in the movie Field of Dreams-Build It And They Will Come, well they will come for the first six months and they will go somewhere else. Scotty's must stay to keep that one ounce of Florida life style for the locals. If it leaves the Grove has lost another diamond in the rough just like those good old head shops.