Tre Italian Bistro located at 270 E. Fllager St.
Tre Italian Bistro located at 270 E. Fllager St. (J. Albert Diaz)

When downtown Miami dynamo attorney Neisen Kasdin wants to sit down for a reliably good meal, it doesn’t take much traveling.

The managing partner at the Miami office of Akerman can take a 30-second stroll across the street to Tre Italian Bistro, where on most days the doors are literally wide open to downtown power brokers.

“We joke it’s Akerman lunchroom,” Kasdin told the Daily Business Review, noting he frequently hits the lunch spot and is partial to its eponymous salad.

“There’s other great food, too,” chimed in T. Spencer Crowley III, a partner at the firm. “Pizza, chicken parm, calzones.”

Located on heavily trafficked Flagler Street just a block from Biscayne Boulevard, Tre opened in 2010 on a site formerly occupied by a discount luggage store and has since been serving up what co-owner Jose Goyanes calls “Italian, but not typical classic Italian.”

Among perennial favorites, according to Goyanes, are the Tre Salad, with chicken, bacon and two types of cheese over a bed of spring greens, and the insalata frutti di mare, which features a vareity of seafood over baby spinach. The restaurant also serves up assorted burgers and pasta, as well as pizza cooked in an Italian hardwood-burning oven.

Goyanes is partial to what he describes as a “fantastic”—and at $14, sensibly priced—lasagna.

On a recent sunny afternoon, the restaurant had a lively midday crowd. The venue sits about 100 people in and out, with most of the seating outdoors. Patrons can choose to sit in a dining room where the sliding doors are generally wide open to the street or at curbside tables that hug the street corner.

While the staff moves seamlessly between the patrons indoors and out, there’s a definite difference in mood between the patrons. Most sitting inside use the space to break bread and talk shop over quick power lunches, while those outside are more likely to lounge and people watch over a post-meal tiramisu.

‘Great Force’

Goyanes told us he relied on his experience as the owner of other downtown Miami businesses—La Loggia across from the Dade County Courthouse, Churchill’s Barber Shop and three Metro Beauty Centers beauty supply stores—to open up the venue.

Taking a break from shaking hands with regulars, he explained how he had envisioned Tre as a place that would not only serve the midday power lunch crowd, but also as an everyday dinner or weekend brunch spot for residents.

The first part of that idea was evident on a recent afternoon. Woody Kahn and Phil Gross, partners at hard money lender Yale Mortgage, talked business at a curbside table under an oversized umbrella. Meanwhile, developer Sergio Rok greeted people at his nearby table.

The second part of the vision is well underway, with a part of town that used to be dead on the weekends increasingly drawing retail traffic, according to Goyanes. The entrepreneur said he now sees about a third of Tre’s revenue coming from dinner service, overwhelmingly to residents.

“Downtown is completely different than it was three years, four years ago. Right when we got the first residential tower, you immediately saw the difference,” he said. “You would actually see people after 6 p.m. walking outside, which would never happen before.”

He predicts his business will only get better, and he noted a growing number of events in the area are an additional boon. Sunday’s Miami Marathon, for example, is an event he expects will deliver him big business as racers “carb up” on pasta the night before.

“Downtown’s hot right now man,” he said “I’ve never in my life seen so much stuff happening at the same time.”

Kasdin said Goyanes is an integral part of pushing the change he’s benefiting from as a board member of the Downtown Development Authority.

“Jose is great. He’s a great person and a tell-it-as-he-sees-it kind of guy—no B.S.,” Kasdin said. “He’s a great force on Flagler Street.”