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The Garden at Mina’s Mediterraneo on Miami’s Upper Eastside has become a popular monthly destination for South Florida’s lesbian community. The event regularly draws hundreds.

I first fell in love with Miami 13 years ago while touring with Cher,” admits former concert roadie and now restaurateur Yasmine Kotb, owner of Mina’s Mediterraneo. The Egyptian-born Texan eventually tired of long days on the road and nights in hotels while working for performers like Beyonce, Britney Spears and Paul McCartney. 

Three years ago, she mined the family recipes of her grandmother and mother and opened her Mediterranean-themed restaurant between Bel Meade and Miami Shores. 

“Cooking was always important in my family,” Kotb recalled. “I always enjoyed going out to eat while I was on the road, finding the places that were popular with the locals.” 

Word of mouth spread quickly after Mina’s opening, especially among the many LGBT couples who call the neighborhood home and were seeking a new hangout after the closing of Magnum, a popular local gay bar. More recently, Kotb expanded the space with a large outdoor dining area and added live music, still one of her passions. 

For the past several months, Mina’s has become a destination for hundreds of local lesbians at monthly mixers. She also hopes to add regular Sunday tea dances for gay men and their friends, promising to preserve the “local vibe” that she herself sought out during her touring career.