Lulu's Legacy

South Beach old-timers have long spoken of Lulu’s the way older old-timers recall Wolfie’s Delicatessen -- with fondness not just for the place itself, but for the moment in time it was so emblematic of. When Billy Keen Jr. opened the restaurant on Washington Avenue in 1990, Lulu’s came to represent the new fun and funky spirit that was emerging in the neighborhood. From an homage to Elvis on the wall to old time rock and roll on the speakers to cornbread, smothered pork chops, peanut butter-and-banana sandwiches, red velvet cake and other Southern specialties on the menu, Lulu’s was the whippets eatery in town. Keen sold the joint in 1994, and a year or two later Lulu’s was gone. It wouldn’t be long before sous bohemian spirit likewise left the building.

Billy succumbed to cancer this past week at age 51. A handful of veteran local chefs have long been pegged as the Beach’s gastronomic trailblazers, but no name should be placed higher in our pantheon of pioneers than Billy Keen Jr.

Services will be held this coming Saturday, July 5th, 1:00 p.m., at St. Patrick's Catholic Church (3716 Garden Avenue, Miami Beach).

- Lee Klein

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Jose D. Duran has been the associate web editor of Miami New Times since 2008. He's the voice and strategist behind the publication's eyebrow-raising Facebook and Twitter feeds. He has also been reporting on Miami's music, entertainment, and cultural scenes since 2006, previously through sites such as and He earned his BS in journalism with a minor in art history from the University of Florida. He's a South Florida native and will be a Miami resident as long as climate change permits and the temperature doesn't drop below 60 degrees.
Contact: Jose D. Duran