Miami Beach steakhouse sues city over ‘impermissibly overboard’ spring break curfew

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A swanky Miami Beach steakhouse is suing city officials in response to a crippling curfew cutting business hours short during the busy spring break season.

The lawsuit, from Papi Steak on First Street, describes the curfew as “arbitrary” and “impermissibly overboard” and is seeking an injunction against enforcement south of Fifth Street as well as costs.

“The curfew is overboard and is not narrowly tailored to advance a compelling governmental interest because it prohibits activity south of Fifth Street in Miami Beach, which has not had the spring break related crowds and violence sought to be addressed by the curfew,” the lawsuit reads. “The curfew is arbitrary and capricious because it seeks to restrict activities across a broad swatch of South Beach without regard to any legitimate governmental need to prohibit travel, assembly, and other constitutionally protected activities throughout the curfew area.”

While the lawsuit argues that the curfew unfairly targets an upscale area that has been quieter than the busier part of town popular with young spring breakers, the steakhouse on Monday was the scene of a brawl between two UFC fighters, Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington.

SPRING BREAKERS LET LOOSE AMID NATIONWIDE CRIME SPIKE, CURFEW ENACTED IN ONE POPULAR DESTINATION

After two shootings in the heart of the South Beach entertainment district left five people injured between Sunday and Monday, city leaders implemented a midnight to 6 am curfew from Thursday to Sunday. On its first day, the nightlife was visibly and audibly subdued.

In addition to forcing bars and restaurants to close at midnight, the curfew cut off liquor stores at 6 pm, and the city cut off-street parking on the busy Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue arteries.

Police reported a calm evening after the curfew, with Miami Beach Police Public Information officer Ernesto Rodriguez telling Fox News Digital, “We had no issues related to the curfew, thankfully.”

He confirmed anecdotal evidence Friday morning after Fox News Digital witnessed a smooth end of the evening when police announced the curfew at midnight.

“No problems,” said one officer, stationed at a Collins Avenue intersection after the crowds dispersed. “Very calm. Didn’t hear anything on the radio – people just went home.”

MIAMI BEACH VIOLENCE DRIVEN BY GUN-TOTING SPRING BREAKERS COMING IN BY CAR

But the response for business owners and their employees has been mixed. Bartenders at several major waterfront clubs and hotels said they expected to lose out on tips but were happy to get a break from the chaos. The doorman at another Ocean Drive restaurant said despite losing business, he wished the curfew had come sooner, before things got out of control.

“The curfew started too late,” he said. “We’re gonna lose business, but it’s what it is. The city said so, and we want to stay here.”

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Others welcomed the lawsuit and accused the city of an overreaction, pointing to spring break seasons in Daytona and Fort Lauderdale, which each see huge crowds this time of year but have not seen similar violence.

The evening was not without some evidence of criminal activity.

Police announced a South Beach curfew had gone into effect just after midnight on Thursday, March 24 in Miami Beach, Florida.

Police announced a South Beach curfew had gone into effect just after midnight on Thursday, March 24 in Miami Beach, Florida.
(Michael Ruiz / Fox News Digital)

Fox News Digital witnessed at least two arrests earlier in the day, one at the intersection of Eighth Street and Ocean Drive and another at 10th Street and Collins Avenue. Details were not immediately available, but on both occasions male subjects were taken away in handcuffs.

Later that night a man attempted to walk out of a Collins Avenue Walgreen’s store with two cases of Modelo beer – when the clerk stopped him. He put them down, and she let him walk out the door.

Fox News’ Sarah Rumpf contributed to this report

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