Two Miami Lakers with a history of opening original, successful restaurants and their business partners have brought their latest creation to their hometown.
Chela’s Beer Garden, an indoor/outdoor venue has opened on Northwest 67th Avenue at Main Street, in the space that formerly held the On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina restaurant.
An antique red Chevrolet pickup parked out front welcomes guests.
“I’m really excited to have something close to my house, in my neighborhood ... to bring to Miami Lakes things we’ve learned from all over the world,” Julio Cabrera, a part owner of Chela’s, said Feb. 11 on opening night.
Cabrera and partners Orlando Lamas, Dan Binkiewicz, Daniel Gonzalez and Mauricio Lacayo are passionate about Mexican culture.
Friends for more than a decade, they owned successful hospitality businesses before they collaborated on Chela’s.
“The Graham Companies was excited to work with not only top restaurant operators in South Florida, but also local Miami Lakes residents,” said Philip Wyllie, leasing manager for The Graham Companies, which owns the property.
“And we hope that bringing this sort of concept to Miami Lakes will draw other creative restaurateurs,” he said.
Chela translates to “cold beer” in Mexican Spanish, said Lacayo, who also lives in town.
He and Lamas own The Bend Liquor Lounge at 6844 NW 169th St., on the north side of the Palmetto Expressway.
The Chela’s Beer Garden menu is inspired by Mexican street fare.
It includes fish, meat and vegan tacos, Angus beef burgers with numerous toppings, corn on the cob and ceviche.
Gonzalez, an owner of HotLime Craft Tacos & Ceviche Bar in the Design District, said he created Chela’s menu to cater to the Miami culture.
He referred to it as “humble street food.”
There are craft cocktails made from tequila, mezcal or rum, there is a full bar and craft IPAs, pilsners, lagers and ales.
Beer makers include Wynwood Brewing Company, Tarpon River Brewing, J. Wakefield Brewing, Biscayne Bay Brewing and The Tank Brewery.
Mexican beers, including lagers by Monopolio and Pacifico, are on draft.
During opening night, the casual vibe was welcoming to families and singles alike.
Out front on a patio strung with lights, there are picnic tables beneath yellow umbrellas. The lounge inside is called The Florida Room, and there is a bar, too.
Each table has a sticker in the middle with a QR code that diners can scan to access the menu and order, or they can go to online.
Once the order is placed, a server brings the food and drinks.
The design is perfect for dining out during a pandemic: There is distance between tables, patrons can be outdoors and there is minimal contact with waitstaff.
Jennifer Carrasquilla of Miami Lakes complimented the ambiance.
“We had a small appetizer and it was good, the beer selection was very nice,” she said.
If you go:
Chela’s Beer Garden, at 15301 NW 67th Ave., is open Thursday and Friday from 4 p.m. – midnight, Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. – midnight and Sundays from 11:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
For more information call 786-558-9393.