New stores, restaurants lure visitors to Main Street

Community By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Wednesday, April 13, 2022

     Take a walk along tree-lined Main Street and you’ll hear the lively clang of silverware on china plates coming from restaurant patios as buzzsaws scream and hammers pound away inside several storefronts. 

     The one-mile byway in the heart of Miami Lakes is undergoing a whirlwind of change. 

     Four new restaurants with fresh concepts have welcomed diners within the past six months. 

     And three unique businesses are also taking root on the town’s main drag, while three well-loved merchants have grown and are trading locations.

     Visitors who used to say, ‘Didn’t that used to be…?’ will instead ask, ‘Have you been to…?’

      A Sweat440 gym and its fit fans will soon dominate the southeast corner at New Barn Road, taking over the former BLAAC Boutique and Main Street Players spaces.

     “Main Street is a key part of Miami Lakes,” said gym franchise owner Carlos De Varona about why he’s locating there. “It’s my upbringing, I know the people, the culture and I think I can drive traffic there.”

      Floor-to-ceiling windows will let passers-by watch the action as athletes perform a 40-minute circuit of high-intensity training.

      De Varona is one of the changemakers on the street where he played video games at a pizza shop as a kid. He is joining other neighbors in helping to revive the heart of downtown. 

     The new dining spots are Garrison Tap Room and Acai Express are owned and operated by life-long Miami Lakers.

     Korner 67 and La Strega Cucina Italiana Steakhouse have brought international tapas and fine dining to Main Street.

     New businesses include specialty shop Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming, which will also sell pet accessories and treats.

     It will take over the spaces formerly rented by a florist and watch store.

     Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids will offer children the chance to be barbered while “driving” a Batmobile, fire truck or Jeep. 

     It plans to open in the fall next to Miami Lakes Jewelers and offer kids’ parties, a Tween lounge and Xbox stations. 

     It’s also a franchise and will be run by Nanette Thompson, who also grew up in town.

    “I went to scope it out and fell in love with it again,” Thompson, of Miramar, said about how her search for a store led her back home.

     “Main Street is picking up that heartbeat again,” she said.

      She said she wants to contribute to the renaissance of Main Street.

     “I want my kids to experience that,” Thompson said.

      Meanwhile, three established businesses will move into new homes. 

      Main Street Players, Quest Martial Arts and Styles Boutique Miami will share the former Victoria’s Secret store space. 

      For nearly a half century the theater has presented professional plays and musicals. 

      As it opens its 2022 season with the comedy “Rapture, Blister, Burn,” by Gina Gionfriddo, it will have moved from the mid-block spot it occupied since 2003 to the more prominent corner.

     “We have been a theater for 48 years, [the foot traffic] hasn’t changed very much,” said theater Treasurer Dennis Lyzniak. 

      He’s hoping to see more new faces in their new space, adding, “Our customers come from all over.” 

     Quest Martial Arts Academy outgrew its space in My Gym and owner Kenny Quintero said he is rebuilding the business that started out in Hialeah Gardens. 

     He hopes to open the new studio in May or June, depending on the pace of construction. 

     Quintero is also a product of Miami Lakes and graduated from Barbara Goleman Senior High School.

     He said the conversion of the former lingerie store into three different bays “worked out perfectly” for the new tenants.

    “We got a great location, and it wasn’t even the one we were [originally] looking at,” Quintero said.

     He said being on Main Street suits families who stay downtown while their kids are in class, studying Taekwando.

     “When they pick up the kids [parents] have pizza in their hands or they have Cold Stone [ice cream],” he said about nearby restaurants. “Everything is in one place. It’s perfect.”

      Since she was a child, Evenise Peraza of Country Club has visited Main Street. On a recent Friday afternoon, she brought her daughter to play by the blue fountain after shopping in the Eye Candy store. 

    “We like to sit by the fountain and she meets other little kids here,” Peraza said. 

    “We [recently] went to the Garrison [Tap Room], and it was a nice environment,” Peraza said. 

     Peraza plans to try the other new restaurants and spend more time on Main Street with her daughter, continuing the family’s tradition into its third generation.