Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wayne Arnold's Royal Castle Reopens

For all you RC fans out there, please note that the second to last surviving RC has reopened at the corner of Northwest 125th Street and Seventh Avenue. Wayne Arnold has owned the restaurant since 1982, but the business has been at that corner since 1956. The store had been closed since a fire caused by a faulty freezer compressor swept through the inside of the restaurant on Aug. 30, 2005. Fortunately Wayne was able to reopen in part thanks to a $80,000 loan from North Miami's Community Redevelopment Agency. Only one other descendant of the original Royal Castle which started in 1937 remains in Miami-Dade at Northwest 79th Street and 27th Avenue. Arnold's is open 24 hours a day, just as it always was. It also brought back its breakfast menu of pancakes, eggs and grits, which customers can order any time. But the real stars are the tiny little castleburgers and birch beer, which are now served in a plastic cup instead of the frosty mug we all remember from our childhood. The burgers are now $1.00 compared to the 15 cents I remember, but just as tasty and satesfying. It is still true to its slogan ''Fit for a King'' ! I encourage all you old time Miamians like me to take your kids down to Arnolds RC in the near future and sample a really wonderful Miami memory!


Glenn61 said...
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sevenoaks said...

Thanks so much for this picture of "our" Royal Castle. My sister and brother and I used to go there with our mom practically from the time we were born. Probably consumed several gallons of Birch Beer there!

Ninina Mameyez said...

Hi, Dave. Here's my version--thanks so much for completing the story!


Heading up 27th Avenue, I figured I’d catch I-95 at 79th Street. Right before the intersection, the sign for the highway pointed in one direction. For some reason, I became confused.

Crossing over, though, I saw a sign I hadn’t seen in many, many years: Royal Castle. Immediately thinking of the Royal Castle on Eighth Street, oh so many years ago, I figured, why not?

So I pulled into the parking lot behind the smallish restaurant, and entered into a mid-sixties time warp I had not expected I’d encounter on this beautiful, cloudless Saturday.

It didn’t bother me in the slightest that I had the lightest colored skin. A young Latino couple: a skinny Sean Penn look alike; his decidedly young wife with long, curly hair flowing behind her; and their two daughters, were patiently awaiting their hamburgers. As were grizzled old laborers in their rumpled jeans and tan work boots.

An elderly woman and several children were sitting at the counter. I couldn’t help noticing that the counter seats were old, frayed. The floor was clean enough, though. And signs behind the counter advertised the specials in all their pictorial glory.

Hamburgers, I want two hamburgers, I told the corpulent, but friendly clerk. Just two? You’ll be back here in a jiffy for more. She smiled. Oh, no. I have high cholesterol. She seemed to understand.

Placing my order, I then realized I’d have to wait, for everything’s cooked to order: no fast food, this. As a matter of fact, there was a sign stating: Sorry if you cannot wait.

So I waited. And waited. Longer than I would have at even a Johnny Rockets, I daresay. The Latin family was served. The construction workers were served. One had even sat down across from me at a booth to do the same thing as I: to patiently wait.

Finally the friendly clerk called me up, and handed me a basket with my two hamburgers, as well as the Diet Pepsi I had ordered. Pushing four o’clock, I was ravenous.

I decided to take my food outside to sit at one of the flagstone patio tables. The sky was so blue, so brilliant: a little warmth shining down on my face wouldn’t hurt me.

And then I surrendered to the graceless beauty of an irregularly shaped Royal Castle hamburger, with its obviously hand-chopped corners. Scalloped little bites, actually, with a dab of ketchup, mustard and two pickles on the underside of the burger.

I bit into the first one. It had been nonchalantly slapped onto the rectangular, freshly warmed bun: who cared if it was sticking out at odd corners? I didn’t.

All I cared about was that I was stepping back in time, in all its grease-encrusted splendor.

For a few, short, glorious minutes, I was seven, eight, or nine years old again.

Except that this is one of the last two remaining Royal Castles in Miami, and it’s not on Eighth Street. Except that I paid the $2.56 tab myself. Except that I developed a major case of heartburn within an hour.

I don’t care. For me, this Castle still rocks.

523 words

HIHLLC said...

OMG...the old RC... I remember goint to the one on the Trail [SW 8th Stree] and Douglas Rd....on the corner. It is now the Miami Dolphins establishment where you buy shirts, etc. Those were the days! That ice cold mug for the Birch Beer,,,, and I remember paying .14 cents - no doubt you would eat three or four of those absolutely scrumptious burgers. I will definitely go to see Wayne Arnold's place. Hmm.....

adlady said...

Thanks for the memories. I was born and raised in Miami and so were my parents. Do you remember a Hot Dog place called RBETTER OR ARBETTER HOT DOGS?

adlady said...

Thanks for the great memories. I was born and raised in Florida and so were my parents. Do you remember a Hot Dog Place called RBETTER OR ARBETTER HOT DOGS?

Dave said...

Hi Adlady:

Soory for the long delay. Arbetter's hot dogs is still around. It is now located on Bird Road just west of SW 87th Avenue. They still ake awesome dogs and chili cheese fries to die for.

Laureen W said...

I want one