The Favor Cafe: Miami Vice to Southern Fried

It’s a scene enough to bring tears to a restaurant owner’s eyes. As
we dined Friday night at the new Favor Café (the former Restaurant Miami), 913 W. Lake St., one party after another walked in the door – mostly young women
dressed for a night of partying. Some of them sat down at tables, while others
headed straight for the bar. And each time, the owner or a waiter had to inform them
that, even though there was a well-stocked bar in plain sight, they could not
order a drink – the restaurant is still waiting for its liquor license. (Our
waiter said he hoped it would arrive in a week or two.)

And each party then turned around and walked out the door.

The food is traditional soul food and Cajun-Creole fare –
fried chicken, fried catfish, seafood gumbo, po’boys stuffed with catfish or
shrimp; salads topped with Cajun shrimp or chicken, plus chcken wings, hot
dogs, a cheeseburger, and various deep-fried items – zucchini sticks, onion
rings, French fries, hush puppies.

fried chicken

My Southern fried chicken dinner wasn’t bad – the chicken was deep-fried instead of
skillet fried, and some pieces were meatier than others, but the flavor was
good, and the accompaniments were classics: collard greens, candied yams and
macaroni and cheese. If you like traditional American plain cooking, you’ll
probably like the Favor Café. We were disappointed, though, with the Creole
shrimp salad – the lightly breaded shrimp were plump and tasty, but there was
no trace of any seasoning beyond salt, and the salad consisted of iceberg
lettuce, sliced tomatoes and shredded American cheese.

Favor Café also offers an all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch with
live music for $18.95, including cooked-to-order omelets, catfish, fried
chicken, turkey sausage, and biscuits and gravy.

The old Miami Vice pastel blue and pink color scheme is
still in place, but the walls are now hung with Afrocentric art, and the 80s
disco sound track has been replaced by mellow R&B tracks from the same era.

The previous owner sold the restaurant after he ran into trouble
with liquor license violations, but I hope this won’t delay the new owners getting a license; they are likely to have a hard time making it on food sales alone.