With Three Restaurants Already on the Mile, SP Hospitality Group is Now Opening a Fourth
Nine years ago, Yiannis Sotiropoulos and Makis Paliouras moved from Greece to Miami. They founded SP Hospitality Group, opened a coffee shop on South Beach, and soon after began buying commercial real estate on Miracle Mile. In 2015, two years after the flagship debuted on Washington Avenue, they opened their first restaurant in the Gables: Crema Gourmet Espresso Bar, located in the Colonnade Building. The following year, they opened Copper 29. And in 2017, they opened Plomo Tequila and Taco Bar, which became Calle 23 in 2020. “Coral Gables is an amazing area with a very high-end clientele,” says Sotiropoulos.
The business partners, who have also been friends for over 30 years, decided to introduce Crema to Miracle Mile to fill what they perceived as a void in the marketplace. “When we opened Crema here, it was something that was missing,” says Sotiropoulos, “a very sophisticated, European-style café.”
Paliouras and Sotiropoulos noticed a similar absence of nightlife in the area. And so Copper 29 was born, offering an eclectic food menu, craft cocktails, daily drink deals and a DJ playing music Tuesday through Sunday. From free champagne for ladies on Wednesday nights to bottomless brunch on weekends, it draws a crowd every day of the week.
For Calle 23, they realized that most of the Cuban restaurants in the area were casual. “We thought there was no upscale Cuban place with live entertainment,” says Sotiropoulos. Menu items include crab croquetas, grilled octopus and churrasco. There is also a live band Friday and Saturday nights. Now, nearly a decade after leaving their home country, their next venture is a Greek restaurant. Named Kaïa (“from the earth”), the restaurant will be, naturally, on Miracle Mile where My Ceviche used to be. “We’re going to do more sophisticated Greek food in a modern design,” says Sotiropoulos. The décor will be mostly earthy and neutral tones and the music will be authentically Greek. The neutral colors will be accented with pink bougainvillea flowers that are native to Greece. Kaïa is slated to open this month.
With an office space right above Calle 23 overlooking their commercial kingdom, the Gables-based company isn’t taking over just Miracle Mile. In February of this year, SP Hospitality Group opened a Crema in Downtown Miami, then one in Davie in March, as well as one in Brickell and one in Miami Beach (inside the Faena Hotel) this month. They also plan to open locations in Doral, Dadeland and Coconut Grove. After that, it’s on to Hallandale Beach and Fort Lauderdale. Many of the new locations are franchises. “We’re opening 20 Cremas in Miami-Dade and Broward,” says Sotiropoulos. According to the partners, the Coral Gables location is still the most successful. Between weekend brunchers and weekday lunchers, the place is always busy. The cafe isn’t the only restaurant with plans for expansion.
A second Calle 23 is expected to open in the Town and Country shopping center by the end of the year, bringing upscale Cuban food to Kendall.
Between all four restaurant brands, the partners are going to have about 30 locations across South Florida. From Copper 29 to Calle 23, from Crema to Kaïa, from Kendall to Coral Gables, it’s SP Hospitality Group’s world and we’re just living in it.