Founder & Editor
A resident-led petition on change.org to save Coral Gables’ Burger Bob’s has quickly secured 700 signatures.
Chase Howard, a resident who spoke about the importance of Burger Bob’s at the July 24th City Commission meeting, started the petition, which has collected over 700 signatures in 6 days.
As previously reported on Gables Insider, Burger Bob’s location is currently going through a request for proposal (RFP) process, following City staff working on a backroom deal.
“I’ve been going to Burger Bob’s my entire life. It was the first place my mom let me ride my bike to alone as a little kid. I know the staff there and they’ve seen me grow up. When I heard that they were in danger of closing I knew that I had to give back to the establishment that had been such an institution in my life and decided to attend a city commission meeting and speak in front of Mayor Vince Lago and the rest of the commission asking for an extension on Bob’s lease,” says Howard of the motivation for starting the petition. “Our petition seeks to demonstrate to the city commission that residents of Coral Gables want Burger Bob’s or an establishment similar in size and accessibility to continue to exist within the space on the golf course. With our petition the community’s support for Burger Bob’s becomes tangible and undeniable. The city commission will have to look through the names of their constituents, currently numbering at 700+ individuals, and decide whether or not their support means enough for them to select Rita’s proposal. One thing is clear, however. There is a lot of love for Burger Bob’s, its staff, and the role that it plays in our community, and that love has pushed a community into action,” he added.
The petition titled “Keep the Hometown Feel of Burger Bob’s Alive” reads as follows:
“As many Coral Gables community members are now aware, Burger Bob’s, located on the historic Granada Golf Course, is in peril. This petition supports the retention of Burger Bob’s or a restaurant similar in size and accessibility as the operator of the space.
On February 23rd, the city received an unsolicited bid to lease Bob’s space, renovate it, and convert it into an upscale dining establishment. The way in which the bid has been processed is improper and was conducted in a way that is not up to our city’s standards. Essentially, it now appears as if neither Burger Bob’s nor any other interested party has any fair, reasonable shot at issuing a winning bid for the space against the city’s predetermined bidder. The issue of the bidding process for the space is very important, so please read more about it here.
Although at first glance it may seem good to have a new, upscale restaurant move into Bob’s space, that is not the case. Because of its size, accessibility, and relevance to the community, Burger Bob’s occupies a sweet spot where it supports the community rather than disrupting it, which would not be the case for a larger establishment.
In terms of size, Burger Bob’s is ideal for its current location. At its busiest times while events are being held at the country club, the parking made available to patrons of Burger Bob’s and Liberty Café fills to capacity and spills onto the edge of the golf course. If a larger establishment such as that proposed by the unsolicited bidder, which aims to increase maximum seating from 56 to 135 patrons, bumps up the number of patrons inside of the restaurant without expanding parking availability (which would be difficult, if not impossible to do in this location), then the community will see extremely detrimental effects. A sizable increase in vehicular and pedestrian traffic, an extreme lack of parking, and an overflow of parking patrons into residence areas, especially those lining the golf course, will become the norm.
Regarding accessibility, Burger Bob’s has evolved to be the perfect establishment for its location. It is open and easy-going enough that a golfer can pop in for a quick drink and a sandwich and be out in a few minutes. Along with this, regulars from the community can be seen popping in, grabbing an inexpensive bite to eat, and socializing amongst themselves on a daily basis. Neighbors have grown to appreciate and love the home-style presence of Burger Bob’s. Both the price point and the laid-backness of Burger Bob’s serves its patrons and the wider Coral Gables community in a way that a larger restaurant could not.
Lastly, Burger Bob’s’ relevance to its community has made it an institution in Coral Gables’ social fabric. Burger Bob’s has been on the Granada Golf Course for over 27 years, and it has developed a massive following of regulars. It is a much-loved pillar of our community, so stripping it away from the community would leave a glaring hole in the soul of Coral Gables.
In signing this petition, you are voicing your support for Burger Bob’s or a restaurant like it to continue existing within the space so as to better serve our community through its size, accessibility, relevance, and more.”
To view the petition or sign the petition, you can click here.