By iCoconutGrove | A Perfect “Grove” Day with Monty Trainer
Monty Trainer is the face of Coconut Grove. If you don’t recognize his face, you certainly can recognize his work and his namesake restaurant Monty’s – a Grove staple right on the Dinner Key Marina. This long time business owner, community activist, local personality and Coconut Grove Arts Festival president tells us why he loves this unique neighborhood, how he started his businesses in the late 60s and what’s kept him in The Grove all this time:
“Coming from Key West, I found The Grove to be very similar with its island-feel and lushness. It was very easy for me to identify with The Grove – the water, the sailing, the biking; all of it. When I first got here, it was a real, true village. Everyone knew one another. The Grove brought me back to my experiences as a youngster in Key West. And I loved it.
I opened up my first restaurant in Coconut Grove in 1969. My theory was simply to put my restaurant “where the bay meets The Grove” (my tagline). It was probably the first waterfront restaurant allowed in the City of Miami. Prior to that there had been no outdoor permits given for restaurants. The slogan eventually evolved to “Walk. Sail. Bike. Coconut Grove.” Everything just fit into place. It’s what I was trying to accomplish with my restaurant – and the identity The Grove was ready to reveal to the world.
I went on to open more restaurants in the area. Today, I’m on the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Improvement District (BID) board. I’m involved in every facet of Coconut Grove, because I love it. And I know I’m not the only one.
There is a tremendous sense of camaraderie here. Even though it’s come on some hard times, I’m part of the resurgence group that’s trying to bring it back. I want the label of a laid-back arts community, to be the reality once again.
And I’m sure it will.”
A Perfect Day in Coconut Grove, With Monty Trainer:
It begins with getting up and checking the obit column to see that I’m not there (he laughs). In The Grove, the great thing is, an “ideal day” and an average day, are really the same thing.
It starts by getting up walking down to beautiful, airy Peacock Park. Then stopping by for some breakfast in the center Grove, up to the post office and to the cleaners. (All these things you can walk to.) Afterwards play a little tennis at Grove Isle, then back and have dinner at the Sonesta, Ritz-Carlton, Focaccia, Calamari or GreenStreet Café – or any of our great restaurants. It’s complete with the waterfront, the lushness and observing the foliage and the poinsettia trees and kids skateboarding. A lot of great activity goes on in The Grove – being able to walk around and see it all is what makes it so special…Oh, and so does one more thing. Going to Monty’s to have stone crabs. It’s a must!”