Owner of LULU & Greenstreet |


Sylvano Bignon – A Restaurateur Dedicated to Coconut Grove

To-Market-to-Market was Sylvano Bignon’s first endeavor in Coconut Grove back in 1984. The second: Greenstreet and his latest: Lulu. Over the last 27 years, he has become one of Coconut Grove’s strongest supporters. Why? Not only did he fall in love with the little village-like neighborhood after a bus tour through the entire United States, but it reminded him of his favorite spots in Europe. Greenstreet is a landmark in Coconut Grove, and if you could say the same about a person, Sylvano would be it.

Sylvano, as most successful entrepreneurs in the industry, has hospitality ingrained in his genetic make-up. Born and raised in Paris, he enjoyed the most coveted slopes of France: Courchevel, Chamonix and Val d’Iseres. That is because his parents owned and managed time-shares Club-Hotel Maeva throughout the top ski resorts in the Alps as well as the 4-star hotel Le Shamrock in Tignes. A workaholic early on, soon after graduating high-school, Sylvano hit the ground running in the hospitality industry working his way up very quickly and soon enough owning his own movie theater, a hop and a skip from Les Champs Elysees, Paris’ most influential quarter. The movie theater was unique as it was a Disney-themed venue. After 6 years and with a booming business under his belt, Sylvano took a leap of faith, sold it and traveled to and across the U.S.

The very last stop on the long two-month bus tour was Coconut Grove, a bustling tree-shaded walking district nestled between the mansions of Coral Gables and the beautiful Biscayne Bay. Sylvano reminisced the summertime outdoor cafes and artsy crowd he felt so at ease with back home. It was love at first sight. He returned a few months later, found a managing position in the business section of the Herald at the To-Market-To-Market restaurant and never looked back. In a few years he became part owner and then, in 1990, an opportunity arose to open a small, 8-table small, café on the lush corner of Commodore Plaza and Main Highway. He named it Greenstreet.

The expansion of Greenstreet was also organic. The flower shop next door closed, Sylvano took over the space adding much needed seating to the restaurant where the line to lunch seemed to never end. Next, the adjacent cookie store also closed and Sylvano added an outside bar, lounge chairs and sofas and a very well received nighttime hang out. Popular for breakfast, lunch, dinner and after-hour drinks, Greenstreet continues to manage a waiting line most days of the week and certainly on the weekends despite the 300 seats it now boasts.

It was just in time that the venue catty-corner to Greenstreet became available. With a new wave of foodies transforming the restaurant industry, Sylvano had been accumulating a pile of suggestions for his menu, concept and ambiance for a while. In 2010, he opened Lulu whose tagline reads: “Neighborfood. Where the customer is the most important visitor in our premises.” The food: “We want LULU to ignite all of your sense. (…) Following a field to fork mentality, LULU prefers to stay as organic, natural and local as possible.” The setting: “A funky neighborhood joint with a sophisticated vibe, a place that will connect people and start a conversation.” Aside from happy hour deals Monday through Fridays and, after midnight, everyday, every Monday nights patrons can catch Caipirinha Night ($4 each or $24 pitcher), Tuesday: Wine Night (no corkage fee), Wednesday: Martini Night ($5), Thursday: Ladies Night and every second Tuesday of the month: Back to the 80’s Night (best costume wins $100 gift certificate)! WOW!

Sylvano has spent the last 27 years believing, committing and “contributing to the health of the community”. What the future holds is not yet determined but he has proven his talents as a restaurateur a few times over and his secret lies in his dedication.

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