Where To Eat In Liberty CityHow to eat your way across Liberty City.
If you follow your GPS to any of the spots on this guide, you’ll see a neighborhood that’s officially called “Model City.” But rest assured, you’re in the right place. Liberty City’s official name is an ode to the city’s first public housing project, which still punctuates the neighborhood today. Somewhere along the line, though, locals started referring to it as Liberty City.
While the exact boundaries of the neighborhood are up for debate, it’s generally considered to run from I-95 in the east to 27th Avenue in the west. Little River and Allapattah serve as its northern and southern neighbors, respectively. For more than a century, Liberty City has been fertile grounds for Miami icons like Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Udonis Haslem, Trick Daddy, Trina, and lots more. This commitment to brilliance pours out of neighborhood kitchens each day. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better collection of soul food, Bahamian, and casual breakfast spots anywhere else in the city.
Eloise & Earnestine isn’t the best soul food in Liberty City—it’s the best we’ve had in the whole county. People line up here for short ribs, oxtails, chitterlings, collard greens, and mac and cheese. The move is to order one of the dinner options. Each order comes with your choice of meat, rice, two sides, and a tiny piece of moist cornbread shaped like a miniature beret. We love the oxtail. It slips right off its star-shaped bones and is covered in a rich gravy that seeps into the rice. They’re open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but get there early because they run out of daily specials fast.
The only downside to visiting iKrave on a weekday is that their big, country-style breakfast might make you feel like it’s Sunday morning. This place is packed with Southern breakfast staples like chicken and waffles, cheesy grits and sausage, and scrambled eggs. If you’re looking to stray from tradition, you can try one of their self-proclaimed “Exotic Waffles,” which come topped with sweets like Fruity Pebbles, white chocolate, or crushed Oreos.
iKrave Sub Shop is just down the street from its sister restaurant, iKrave. But here, it’s all about subs. And there is one sub worth prioritizing above the rest: the oxtail sub. Rich, tender chunks of oxtail meat are heaped onto a roll with your choice of vegetable toppings. The oxtail is so good the sandwich doesn’t really need anything else—although some lettuce or crunchy vegetables help balance out the richness. Just eat carefully, in case a few little pieces of bone are hiding in there. This place is also next door to a laundromat, in case you ran out of clean clothes four days ago.
Fatman's is a food truck that sets up in a parking lot on NW 54th Street, where it serves some of our favorite hot dogs in Miami. You get a choice of hot dog or sausage (we like the sausage, which has more of a kick to it). Then, pick one of Fatman's nine masterpieces, like the Mac Daddy topped with mac and cheese or the Fatman Philly covered in shaved steak that’s been crisped up on a flat top. There are a couple tables where you can eat in the parking lot in case you don’t want to be tortured by the smell of a delicious hot dog on the drive home.
If you’re only used to the stuff from Italy, Theo’s Caribbean-style pasta—specifically the Spicy Azz Chicken Rasta Pasta—will make a superfan out of you. But you might also get hooked on their wings and Alfredo pasta. It all hits. The menu is robust—with eight different Hibachi rice options, lemon pepper salmon bites, a mahi-mahi burger, and fried broccoli. If you’re looking to try Theo’s at a discount, go for their pasta of the day special. You’ll be able to try a new dish Monday through Saturday, which is quite dangerous if you come to love this place as much as we do.
Miracle Fry is a Liberty City classic in a small blue building in the center of a parking lot. The menu has wings, burgers, a chicken sandwich—all well under $10. But if you're coming here, you're getting conch fritters. Miracle Fry's are thin, crispy, and flat like a pancake. And they’re really good too, a perfect little golden brown snack. Ask for a double, and a brown paper bag full of them will emerge from the little hole in the front window. Just be sure to bring cash because that's all they accept.
MLK has a steady stream of regulars who all seem to be on a first name basis with the staff. This is a breakfast and lunch spot—they close at 1pm. The menu leans Southern soul food with a little bit of a Caribbean seafood influence. And anything on that menu with the word “fried” in it is the move—especially the fried fish options. The wings and waffles are also really good. This is a big takeout spot, but there are plenty of tables inside in case you want to eat there.
This soul food breakfast and lunch spot actually opens at midnight for those looking for late-night pancakes with a side of hookah. But it’s a great breakfast option too, and the small diner-esque dining room is a lot more laidback when the sun has risen. Pastime’s menu is huge, but the breakfast classics are our favorite. You can’t go wrong with the pancakes, sausage, or any of the waffle combinations. If you’re not in a breakfast mood, try the fried catfish sandwich.
Lemon Peppers is less than two blocks north of the Brownsville Metrorail station and falls on the western side of 27th Avenue, so you can make the case that it’s in Brownsville and not Liberty City. Either way, there’s no secret why you’re here: You’re getting lemon pepper wings, and you’re taking them to go. This takeout spot serves whole and half wings, as well as boneless, if that’s your thing. If you get a platter, you’ll also get fries that are so well-seasoned, they don’t taste like an afterthought. After you drive through and place your order, be ready to sit for a minute. Wings are made to order, but they’re absolutely worth the wait.
Locating Liberty Subs is a little like missing your exit on I-95. Even if you know exactly where you’re supposed to get off, you still somehow manage to drive right past it. So let us help you: First head to Shoppes of Liberty City on 54th Street. Then, head toward the “99¢ Store” sign, park, and there it is. Once at the counter, you’ll have the opportunity to choose from an assortment of wings and customizable subs like buffalo chicken, Cuban sandwiches, chicken teriyaki, and more. If that feels like too much work, you can also order online for delivery.
Wings on Fire is a few blocks away from Gwen Cherry Park on 22nd Avenue. Its corner location is perfect for pulling in the drive-thru, which is the best way to order from here if you aren’t getting delivery or walking up to the window. As the name suggests, this place specializes in wings: whole, cut, or boneless. Order them in increments from six to 30, add your choice of the standard sauces, and you’re good to go. They also offer lunch specials, where you can pair your wings with tilapia or shrimp. If you’re heading back to Gwen Cherry to catch a game, grab one of their combo options that come with 40 wings and a second item to feed your whole crew.
Flavaz is near Liberty City’s core, just a few blocks from the Beans. True to its name, you’re coming here to sample some Bahamian-inspired soul food. If you’re feeling pasta, grab one of their dishes that come topped with conch, chicken, or other proteins. Or, you can stick to the classics and order pork chop or red snapper dinners. Just don’t expect to eat inside—this is a takeout spot.
The World Famous Rib Shack has two locations: one in Liberty City, the other in Brownsville. The one in Liberty City on 17th Avenue is the original. Parking is tight at this corner spot, which is a testimony to the Shack’s loyal fanbase. When you enter, you’ll make your selections at the counter and then go outside to wait for your food. Here, you can order a variety of seafood options, including catfish nuggets and fried conch. And, of course, there are ribs. No matter what you choose, know that this isn’t a dine-in spot. Grab your food and head out—so the person waiting in line behind you can park.
Mattie’s At Jumbo’s is located at the northeasternmost corner of Liberty City, and it has undergone some changes in the last decade. Previously known as “Jumbo’s,” this restaurant has a history as one of the first restaurants in the city to desegregate in the ’60s. It’s remained a neighborhood staple since, where folks come to enjoy Southern dishes like fried chicken, shrimp, pigeon pea rice, macaroni, and collard greens. Portions are big, so there’s a good chance you’ll have some leftovers to take with you when you leave.