The location: The Gazebo Restaurant.

Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. A gazebo restaurant.


Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. In Miami.


Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 5 (of Season One), "Love American Style".

    Rita takes Dexter out to lunch at a waterfront restaurant to ask him to help find her housekeeper's missing fiancé.

    Rita's co-worker at the Z Hotel is terribly upset because her fiancé is being held hostage by a "coyote" (Jorge Castillo), a smuggler of Cuban immigrants who is threatening to kill the hostage is she doesn't come up with the blackmail payment.

    Rita tells her that she will talk to Dexter, who works for the police, and he'll know what to do. (And he does - but not the way she expects...)

    We see an octagonal, red-roofed gazebo, surrounded by lots of tropical foliage.

    Then we see Dexter and Rita at a table (apparently inside the gazebo or nearby), next to the waterfront.

    Rita tells Dexter about her maid's missing fiancé, and asks him how terrible it would feel to have something like that happen to someone you love. Dexter, who has no idea what love feels like, does his best to fake a normal response...


Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A gazebo - but not a restaurant and not in Miami.


Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. It's actually in Fort Lauderdale, Florida - about 30 miles north of Miami.

    The gazebo is at the Las Olas Riverfront, a themed shopping/dining area on the north bank of the New River, at 300 SW 1st Avenue, along Fort Lauderdale's Riverwalk Park,

    The gazebo serves as the center's live entertainment stage, and doesn't appear to be a restaurant in real life - although there are restaurants nearby in the center. (There is also a historic restaurant, The River House, with its own antique gazebo, located just east of Riverfront.)

    The slanted, black object seen behind Rita is actually half of an open drawbridge. This drawbridge is a railroad bridge, the tracks of which run along on the east side of SW 2nd Street. (The gazebo is just west of the drawbridge.)

    The tall, hotel-like building across the water, behind Rita, seems to be the "Esplande On the New River" condos, at 401 SW 4th Avenue.

    Here is an aerial photo of the area, with both the gazebo and the drawbridge marked. ('Birds-Eye Views' are not available for Fort Lauderdale).

    And here is a map link.


Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?

    A. This was a real pain.

    I'm working out of L.A., and have never been to Florida, so finding anything in Miami is problematic.

    Live Local Birds-Eye photos and a few Google searches have usually been enough to let me track down most of the Miami locations. This gazebo, however, didn't seem to be anywhere in Miami.  And sure enough, it wasn't.

    When I was unable to find the gazebo itself in Miami, I began a futile hunt for the black object seen behind Rita. (I didn't realize at the time that it was a drawbridge - I guessed that it might be some eccentric artwork or perhaps some unusual building.)

    But after failing to find either one in Miami, I took another look at the scene, zooming in while running the scene in slow motion, and I realized that it was indeed half of a raised drawbridge.  I thought it would be easy to find after that.  I just started looking next to all of the drawbridges in Miami.  Unfortunately, Miami has a lot of drawbridges...

    After knocking myself out and failing to find it, I gave up and asked people familiar with Miami to identify it for me, and I was told me that it wasn't in Miami, it was a railroad bridge over the New River in Fort Lauderdale.  So I used Live's aerial photos to check out the area, discovered the Las Olas center (and its website), and was able to verify it. (Thanks, guys.)



 
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