What’s New In Town: Welcome to our new Businesses


We visited a new woman’s shoe boutique as the first stop in our walkabout.  

It’s here we meet long-established retailer Justin Garcia, who recently opened his KOKO + Palenki on Sunset Drive.


Having successful retail stores in Cocowalk, Dadeland, Aventura, Merrick Park and Brickell City Center over the years, and moving into wholesale, selling to some fifty shoe stores in the USA, with clients like Nordstrom, Justin decided on one last store and that was to be on Sunset Drive,

What's New In Town
Justin Garcia

which was a fashion mecca back a few years.  His passion for working with the customer brought him to SoMi, and to a location he just wanted to have.Justin started in retail at age seventeen.  He cut his teeth in merchandising and selling men’s clothing.  He opened in Cocowalk in 1992.  He made the shift to women’s shoes and never looked back, doing a successful run at prestigious south Florida retail malls.  For over two decades, KOKO + Palenki has been at the forefront of the fashion industry, curating a unique blend of luxury and contemporary collections that cater to a discerning clientele’s diverse tastes and desires.

His move from retail to wholesale was simple economics.  Having control over design and fabrication, retail rents were getting exorbitant, and he was “tired of working for the landlord.”

His inventory is 70% KOKO + Palenki designed, and includes shoes, sandals, wedges, heels, and flats. Chocolat Blu is another line which is made in China, and Victoria’s Sneakers made in Spain since 1915.  Shoes are all leather creations, the lining, the upper and soles.  More padding in dress shoes for a more comfortable fit.  The price points range from Jelly’s ($79), with all shoes under $200, except for boots. KOKO + Palenki is open Monday to Saturday from 10a – 6p.

5829 Sunset Drive | 786.963.1036 | www.kokopalenki.com

Irene Berl with a tray of assorted sweet treats.

We make a stop a couple of doors down on Sunset to a new “sweet studio.”   

Greeting us is Irene Berl, who has recently opened DBaker here in our town center.


DBaker was founded by Venezuelan twin brothers Giancarlo and Christian Guevara. The twins are passionate about baking since they were kids, and later worked in a French pastry shop. Having moved to Miami, they developed their brand which was in demand at area farmers’ markets, eventually leading to establishing a location in Midtown Miami at 3501 N.E. Second Avenue.

The twins note: “Our gourmet cakes are made with real ingredients and are frosted with our famous Swiss Meringue Buttercream – a recipe passed down through generations.

With flavors that range from classic vanilla to exotic combinations, there’s a cake for everyone’s taste buds.”

The brothers offered fellow Venezuelan Irene Berl, the first opportunity to open a franchise. Irene, by profession is a pediatric dentist, earning her degree in Spain. With the onslaught of COVID, and with an interest in opening her own business, she welcomed the opportunity to be the first franchise, deciding on the location in December 2023. The “sweet studio” just opened on March 1st.

Already Irene can name some of the favorites which clients like, the Nutella, chocolate chip and guava churro.

There are cupcakes, macarons and cookies, Signature cakes and Designer cakes. Coffee and espresso are also served at the store. Specialty cakes can be ordered on line and delivered to the South Miami location.

Baked by twins, “every treat is baked with double the love and double the deliciousness!”

5809 Sunset Drive | 786.737.9449 |  www.dbakers.us

What's New In Town
Chefs Artan and Migena

Crossing across Sunset we find two familiar faces opening their new casual dining enterprise.


Art Gyros Mediterranean Fusion prepares Greek and Albanian food.  Artan Kapxhiu and wife Migena opened their popular Forno Italiano Pizzeria across on the east side of Sunset seven years ago.  They are now serving breakfast, lunch and dinner at Art Gyros, located at the United Community bank courtyard.

Open from 7a to 10p, customers will enjoy a complete breakfast, lunch and dinner menu which include Greek gyros, salads, main courses of lamb, turkey, beef and Albania specialties.  Homemade soups and desserts are also on the menu.

5750 Sunset Drive | 305.967.8643 | Order online through DoorDash

Albanian Meze (cornbread, prosciutto, feta and
lemon/olive mix.)

Rounding the corner at Sunset Drive and Red Road, we come upon PROESĒNS MEDSPA. 


Recently opened, Proesēns Medspa offers a comprehensive range of services tailored to enhance a client’s natural beauty, promote wellness, and boost confidence. From advanced skincare treatments like injectables (such as Botox and Dysport) to cutting-edge laser hair removal and vein vascular removal, Proesens Medspa provides the latest in non-invasive procedures to address a client’s aesthetic concerns.

In addition to their signature services, Proesens introduced a weight loss program, designed to support the client toward a healthier, happier lifestyle.  The expert team guides the client through personalized strategies and techniques to achieve wellness goals effectively and sustainably.

The luxurious spa invites you to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and immerse yourself in a world of tranquility and rejuvenation.

7222 SW 57th Avenue | 786.650.0001 | www.proesensmedspa.com 

What's New In Town

Heading over to the Municipal Parking Garage – a new high energy juice bar has opened.

The Spruce Juice located on the street level of the garage facing 73rd Street offers a delightful menu of cold-pressed juices, acai bowls, shots, and smoothies.  Some of the “top on the list” suggestions are the Watermelon Refresh Juice, the Acai Berry Bowl, the Green Machine Smoothie, and the Spicy Ginger Shot.

5829 Southwest 73rd Street . Open seven days at 8:00a.

The Spruce Juice delivery in the South Miami area with Uber Eats.

Moving from the garage and pass the Avalon South Miami construction we’re heading to US 1, and the SoMi Center building.  (Read about the new development in the latest SOMIonline magazine,(www.somimag.com)

It’s here we enjoy a quick pan-Asian lunch at Sriracha House.

Sriracha House was founded in 2014 out of the love husband-and-wife owners Emilio Benzadon and Jessica Knopf share for Southeast Asian street food, They first opened the original location in South Beach along Washington Avenue. After a decade in business serving South Beach and, most recently, the Shoma Bazaar food hall in Doral, the fast-casual, pan-Asian eatery has opened its second brick-and-mortar location in South Miami along US 1 at 5966 South Dixie Hwy, Open daily from 11a to midnight.


About Author

Leave A Reply