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Eating like an elephant at Big Pink's Diner, Miami

Saturday 21 July 2012
James and Mark and Milkshakes at Big Pinks

Ah Miami, you tricky bastard. You're famed for the glamour and the sheen, but when it comes down to it, you're just a yoke trying a little too hard to be cool, wearing a 'Miami, Bitch' t-shirt. I had you pegged the moment I set foot on you.

When we were staying in South Beach, in what I believe to be the worst hostel in the world, we got ourselves into a bit of a rut, eating wise. There were five of us all together, which can make choosing a restaurant tricky. People have different tastes, different budgets. Some people think it's wiser to spend money on a decent and memorable meal, others think it belongs behind a bar. I'm not saying one person is better than the other (though I am thinking it), but it does make things interesting.

The solution came in the form of Big Pinks, a diner just around the corner from where we were staying. The guys walked past it on their first night (while I was nibbling ceviche in San Francisco) and decided to check it out. Being (mostly) boys, the diner and its mountainous portions appealed. And the menu was big enough (literally, it was the size of a windscreen) to ensure there'd be something for everyone.

It's a little contrived at this stage to say how big the portions are in America. It's like describing the heat hitting you like a wall when you go to Africa. But seriously. The portions were huge.

Side orders were described as Buckets. You wanted fries on the side? Well, what you got is "over a pound of handcut Idaho potatoes, fried crispy golden and piled into a bucket." It wasn't just fries that came in the Big Pinks Buckets. You could get a bucket of wings, a bucket of shrimp, or a bucket of corn dogs.

The menu claimed that they didn't want you to finish your food, that half the pleasure is taking back your leftovers and eating them at home. Now, if this was actually the case, then great. If I was at home, I'd be all over that. I love leftovers, sometimes more than the meal itself. But if, like us, you were staying in a shit heap with no kitchen, it went to waste. Quite a lot of tables were left with piles of food at the end, which strikes me as a little ridiculous and offensive, to be honest.

That said, the food is good. And thank God - we ate there four times. Over four days. Being open from 8am until 5am means that there's an option for every meal.  It does all the standard diner fare that you want when you're in the states - cheese fries with gravy, pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, juicy burgers, pulled pork sandwiches.

Damn. Now I want to go to there.

Just a word of warning - if you want a salad (which some people don't class as food) then order the dressing on the side. Someone in my party was sick of all of the fattening food, and wanted something lighter. When it arrived, it came slathered in a mayo dressing so thick, it must have been more fattening than my cheese fries.

I love it when that happens.

Big Pinks, 157 Collins Avenue, South Beach.


  1. Hi Nicola, its been a long time since I posted or read your blog. Have been very busy with things.
    We are going to Orlando and Miami in June. Orlando is all booked and have a things to do list ready. Do you have any reccomendations on what to do/see in Miami or any hotels you can suggest. We will be there for 4 nights. We are a couple in their late 20s.

    1. A few more suggestions coming in, these look really nice...

      All on South Beach, which is the best bet in terms of location. You'll be right in the action, with the bars, shops etc on your doorstep.

    2. Hi RiRi, great to see you back! I stayed in a dire hostel when I was in Miami, so haven't a good rec for you. But I've put the word out on Twitter. I've heard good things about the Soho Beach House, but it is expensive.
      In terms of things to do, you'll definitely want to stroll down South Beach and Ocean Drive. Little Havana looks amazing, I was raging we didn't get there. Nice little taste of Cuba. There are some great galleries too, in the Wynwood district.
      If you love seafood, do check out Joe's Stone Crab ( If you like a good American diner, then Big Pinks is worth checking out.
      Have a ball, and let me know how you get on!

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  3. OMG, you are a star, thanks a lot, will note everything now.


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