Until recently, Miami’s MiMo District was known primarily for its once-thriving motels from the 1950s and ’60s, which languished for decades along a stretch of Biscayne Boulevard. But in recent years, MiMo–short for “Miami Modern,” itself a reference to the confluence of architectural styles that characterize the area–has undergone a makeover. Today, the stretch of Biscayne between Northeast 50th and Northeast 77th Streets is home to some of Miami’s best restaurants and unique shopping opportunities. And the motels have followed suit, rekindling their retro charm for a new generation.
A tiny eatery tucked into one of MiMo’s signature motels, Blue Collar serves classic American dishes with fresh, unpretentious twists, with plates like eggs Benedict with pulled pork, a duck “McMuffin,” and a variety of meat-centric daily specials. The cozy restaurant became an instant local favorite when it opened in 2012, so expect delayed seating if you want to eat at peak hours, especially during its worth-the-wait brunch.
6730 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33138
Miami legend has it that The Vagabond motel was a Rat Pack hangout in the 1950s. Though Sinatra may never really have mingled with showgirls beside the artful mermaid mosaic that adorned its swimming pool, the motel is still a historic hotspot. And in 2014, after decades of disrepair, it reopened with retro renovations, a pool bar, and fine dining restaurant. You don’t have to book a room to enjoy yourself here–the Vagabond hosts weekly parties with live bands and DJ sets to complement its custom poolside cocktails.
7301 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33138
The Ms. Cheezious phenomenon began as a food truck, slinging unique grilled cheese sandwiches–ham croquetas and swiss, ricotta cheese and marmalade, to name just two–on city streets throughout Miami. The concept’s first brick-and-mortar location opened last year in MiMo, expanding its menu to include dishes like a fried chicken, cheddar, and waffle melt. This only stoked its popularity; the restaurant earned a feature on the Food Network this year, and plans to open another location in Coral Gables next month.
7418 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33138
Jimmy’s Eastside Diner
Jimmy’s has been slinging scrambled eggs and corned beef hash in MiMo for decades, and it shows. This is a classic greasy spoon, with red vinyl booths and no-nonsense waitresses. Giant plates of pancakes and patty melts arrive at the table steaming hot and nearly overflowing, making this an ideal breakfast date or a last stop after a long night on the town. Plus, in a neighborhood where so much has been renovated, redesigned, and re-marketed in recent years, it’s refreshing to drop into a place like Jimmy’s, which hasn’t changed a bit.
7201 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33138
With locations in New York and Los Angeles, ModShop’s high-end furniture store might seem a strange fit for a former seedy motel district. But is there any better place to shop for retro, midcentury furniture than a neighborhood that trades on its retro, midcentury aesthetic? From Art Deco chairs covered in cowhide to leather circle sofas, this showroom is full of statement pieces worth browsing, even if they’re well out of your budget.
6101 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33137
Illustration by Jessica Olah for SIXTY Hotels