Many restaurants across the nation and around the globe were lost during the pandemic, but in Miami Beach, none hit harder than the shuttering of the News Cafe.

Restaurateur Mark Soyka opened the News Cafe at Ocean Drive and Eighth Street in 1989 after he moved down from New York with his friend, real estate developer, Tony Goldman. Together, the two men helped South Beach experience a renaissance. The café was known as the place to see and be seen. And it was, infamously, the last place Gianni Versace visited before he was murdered by Andrew Cunanan in July 1997, three blocks north on Ocean Drive, on the steps of his own home.

When the popular South Beach nexus abruptly closed without fanfare in January 2021, Miamians lamented the loss.

Now, the restaurant is reopening at its original spot on the ground floor of the newly renamed Tony Hotel South Beach. The hotel, formerly known as the Hotel of South Beach, was given an upgrade and a new name to honor the man who saw the potential in South Beach four decades ago.

Scott Srebnick, CEO of Goldman Properties, says that Tony Goldman, who was his father-in-law, moved to Miami Beach in 1985. “At that time, people saw a South Beach filled with crack houses, decaying buildings, and senior citizens. Tony saw art deco buildings and outdoor cafés.”

Goldman began buying up distressed art deco properties and was a catalyst in helping to revitalize the area into a world-class destination.

This past fall, nine years after his death in September 2012, Goldman was inducted into the Miami Beach Hall of Fame. The plaque commemorating the enshrinement resides at the Tony Hotel.

The Tony Hotel South Beach, which encompasses two buildings on Collins Avenue and Eighth Street, was one of the properties Goldman purchased in the 1980s. Designed in 1939 by L. Murray Dixon, the hotel is known for its “Tiffany” spire. During the COVID pandemic, the hotel was closed for 18 months, giving Goldman Properties the opportunity to revamp the rooms with high-speed Wi-Fi, large-screen TVs, and other upgrades. The rooftop pool was also refurbished.

And the News Cafe will reopen this May.

Srebnick says Goldman Properties purchased the brand from Mark Soyka. Operated by Vida and Estilo Group, the restaurateurs behind Havana 1957, Paperfish Sushi, and others, the new News Cafe will stay as close to the original version as possible.

“Our agreement with Vida and Estilo is that they are going to be faithful to the legacy that Mark [Soyka] created. There may be some different touches, some updating, but we love the brand and we want to be faithful to the past that it represents,” Srebnick says.

That includes the return of key menu items. “Tony never went to the News Cafe without eating tomato soup. I’m not micromanaging the menu, but many of the familiar staples will be back. Why operate as the News Cafe if you’re not going to be faithful to the original?,” says the Goldman Properties CEO.

“Mark Soyka created an iconic brand with News Cafe and I give him all the credit in the world. The News Cafe is so unique, so identifiable, it was the most significant people-watching location in the world,”  he adds.

For Srebnick, the hotel renaming and café reopening also reflect Tony Goldman and Mark Soyka’s enduring vision for South Beach.

“I’ve been spending a lot of time on Ocean Drive lately, and people — tourists and locals — will stop in front of News Cafe and ask what’s going on with it,” he says. “It has such a lasting legacy and has made an imprint on so many hearts.”

The Tony Hotel South Beach. 801 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-531-2222; thetonyhotel.com.