Miami

Miami’s Last Roller Rink Almost Went Under-Until This Family Stepped In

Kendall's iconic roller skating rink will remain open under a new name.

Photo by Amanda Julca for Thrillist
Photo by Amanda Julca for Thrillist
Photo by Amanda Julca for Thrillist

Whether you knew it as Super Wheels, Hot Wheels, or Thunder Wheels, you’re not a real Miamian if you haven’t gone to at least one birthday party at the roller rink located in the ever-evolving Crystal Shopping Center in Kendall.

But the city’s longest standing roller rink-and the last one of its kind in the 305-was recently at risk of shutting down for good. To kick off 2024, the space will reopen as Miami Roller Rink thanks to a Kendall family that stepped in to save the space from extinction and ultimately becoming another condo or some kind of storage facility.

The rink has been continuously open and operating since 1977, so when Gabe Colon and Pam Mostacero first heard the establishment was on the market they thought it was a mistake. “We were like ‘What do you mean? It can’t close!’ and we had to double check the listing,” says Mostacero. Once the couple heard some bidders planned to change the nature of the property, they took action to save the beloved space that’s become so important to their family.

Photo by Amanda Julca for Thrillist
Photo by Amanda Julca for Thrillist
Photo by Amanda Julca for Thrillist

The new owners spent the last three years watching their two daughters (ages 8 and 13) become competition-winning skaters, representing Miami in the Southern region of USA Roller Sports as part of Super Wheels’ roller skating team. The rink was more than a hangout spot for the family-it had become a second home.

“I’ve watched the impact that skating has had on my girls. They’ve grown so much and have become so strong and brave and confident,” says Mostacero. “Taking classes and being on the skating team has given them a sense of community and pride-†he thought of them losing that focus and passion if the rink were to close was too much for us to handle.”

Colon and Mostacero still have full time careers outside of the rink, but they are completely committed to ensuring the rink remains a space for the community to gather. With support and guidance from the Roller Skating Association and its former owner Thomas Mitchell, the 30,000 square foot rink will continue to host themed events, classes with world-class coaches like Gloria Manning, and everyone’s favorite Monday Adult Night.

Photo by Amanda Julca for Thrillist
Photo by Amanda Julca for Thrillist
Photo by Amanda Julca for Thrillist

As for its look, don’t expect any drastic changes beyond some much-needed deep cleaning and a shiny new (and very Miami) pink and teal sign out front. The couple is committed to maintaining the rink’s status as a true Miami institution. Their ultimate goal is to celebrate its past while also welcoming a successful future, and keeping the legacy alive and making their daughters proud are the couple’s biggest motivators.

“It felt so surreal to see this huge Miami Roller Rink sign,” says Mostacero. “It was truly overwhelming and suddenly felt so real-like we did it. We saved it, it’s here, and it’s not going anywhere.”Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTikTokTwitterFacebookPinterest, and YouTube.

Amber Love Bond is a Thrillist contributor.

Miami

Bad Bunny and David Grutman's Sexy AF Miami Steakhouse is Finally Here

The rapper does whatever he wants.

Photo by Michael Stavaridis
Photo by Michael Stavaridis
Photo by Michael Stavaridis

David Grutman is back at it again, and this time the hospitality guru is bringing a new partner into the fold-award-winning recording artist, Bad Bunny. Located in Miami’s trendy Brickell neighbourhood, Gekkō, which translates to “moonlight” is a Japanese-inspired steakhouse that will serve fancy cuts of Wagyu alongside a bevy of sushi offerings. In true Groot Hospitality form, this isn’t your basic steakhouse, it’s also got a lounge that very well may play the sounds of Bad Bunny and the like into the wee hours of the night.

“Gekkō is the result of so many of my obsessions in food,” says David Grutman, Founder of Groot Hospitality. “It’s a steakhouse inspired by Japanese cuisine. There are delicious, innovative sushi rolls. There’s a lounge. I knew I wanted to do something that combined these worlds, and once I started speaking with Bunny, I knew he’d be a great partner. Gekkō is about having an incredible meal while having an equally incredible night.”

Photo by WORLD RED EYE
Photo by WORLD RED EYE
Photo by WORLD RED EYE

To celebrate the opening of Gekkō (not so coincidentally the same weekend Bad Bunny has two shows scheduled in South Florida), the crew hosted a massive grand opening party that attracted dozens of A-list celebrities and friends of both Grutman and Bad Bunny. Upon arrival, in his white Bugatti, mobs of fans who spent the entire evening swarming the restaurant began chanting “Benito! Benito!” as he exited his car in an all black suit paired with black sunglasses.

The night went something like this. A-list artists of every genre came out to celebrate. Future and Lil Wayne were seen on a couch in deep conversation and catching up with Mack Maine. Bad Bunny and Karol G were spotted running from table to table together, while DJ Khaled was seen embracing Bad Bunny and congratulating him on such a beautiful new restaurant. Timbaland and Andy Garcia were spotted hanging out for a long period, while Sophie Turner and her husband, Joe Jonas, hung with Victoria and David Beckham. Amidst that hundreds of average joes mixed and mingled while attempting to make their way to the bar so they could get a peek at some of the restaurant’s cocktails and sushi bites. It was quite a scene.

Photo courtesy of Michael Stavaridis
Photo courtesy of Michael Stavaridis
Photo courtesy of Michael Stavaridis

Okay, so back to the restaurant. Gekkō was designed by New York City-based architecture and design firm, Rockwell Group, and is made up of three different rooms with seats for up to 185 diners. It’s centred around sultry jewel-toned decor with plush and stylistic elements like a custom gold and red dip-dyed rope installation, graphic wall coverings, and velvet drapery.

Now you might be wondering about the food, because that’s really why we’re going to a restaurant, right? Gekkō’s menu begins with shared plates where diners will find things like a signature Japanese milk bread, “Lava and Ice” Kumamoto Oysters, lobster dumplings, and a wedge salad. When it comes to raw plates there’s sushi and sashimi classics as well as an opulent 24k Otoro, that’s exactly what it sounds like-deliciously tender fatty tuna covered in a layer of 24k gold leaf.

Photo by Libby Vision
Photo by Libby Vision
Photo by Libby Vision

Then there’s the steaks which include a Tomahawk cut, an olive-fed filet mignon from Kagawa, Japan, and a snow beef strip from Hokkaido, Japan. Specialty preparations include Wagyu skirt steak and a bone-in ribeye. And because Grutman is always sure his restaurants cater to the tastes of everyone, there’s even some plant-based chicken options and more.

“Sitting down with friends to enjoy a good meal is one of the moments I value the most,” says Bad Bunny. “I am thrilled that now I will have a hand in creating this experience for others.”

Gekkō opens tonight at 8 SE 8th Street in Brickell. The dining room and lounge serve customers from 6 to 11 pm Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and 6 pm to 12 am Friday and Saturday. Valet parking is available for $20 or you can attempt to find a street parking on Brickell. Visit gekko.com for reservations.

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Amber Love Bond is a contributor for Thrillist.

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