By Hank Tester

MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — An iconic South Beach restaurant, The News Café on Ocean Drive, is now padlocked and shutdown. The News Café was a place where you could quietly have a cup of coffee, read the paper, or gather for a casual business meeting, all in the middle of the hustle and glamour of Ocean Drive.

“It is such a shame that the people who came here to read the newspapers and magazines to hear that it is shut down as it is not making it through the pandemic is sad,” said Sarah Aquirre.

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But it may not have shut down because of the pandemic.

CBS4 News has learned the operators have not renewed their tax license for 2021. Their Instagram account says it is closed temporarily but the owner is not answering requests for comment and no one will confirm the long range plan.

A representative of Goldman Properties which is the News Café landlord was on the site but would not comment.

There has been no information from the Ocean Drive Association or Mark Soyka, the restaurant pioneer who operated the Café on the corner of 8th and Ocean Drive for almost three decades.

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In a 2013 interview with Miami Pop Media, he said, “I opened something I thought I would enjoy and I am very, very proud. The News Café symbolizes my greatest individual success.”

The restaurant was thrust into the international headlines on July 15, 1997. Just moments after fashion icon Gianni Versace made his daily coffee visit, he was shot dead on the steps of his mansion just a short walk north on Ocean Drive.

Miami Beach was gripped as police searched for the killer. The suspect, Andrew Cunanan, a serial killer, took his own life on July 23 while holed up in a houseboat in the shadows of several Miami Beach hotel.

The News Café, meantime continued to prosper, but now in the midst of the pandemic.

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“A lot of businesses tanking at this point especially restaurants, maybe more will close before it is all over,” said a tourist named Thomas.