Dexter Filming Locations: The Tropical Beach Cafe


The location: The Tropical Beach Cafe.

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

    A. A tropical, outdoor restaurant / café.

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

    A. Somewhere in Miami.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 10, of Season 2 - "There's Something About Harry".

    Debra is angry with Lundy, so they meet for lunch (at a beach cafe) to talk it out.

    She tells him that she is angry because she had never given any real thought to what would happen to their relationship after the case ended, but she liked it that way, an open future filled with possibilities - and that he had robbed her of that happy fantasy by assuming their relationship would end when the case ended.

    He tells her that he worried that the novelty of dating a much older man would wear off soon, and she would dump him.

    During the lunch, he gets a cell phone call from the office and they have to leave.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A casual beach refreshment stand - and not in Miami.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. Right on the beach.  It's called the Kayak Cafe, and is located in a small park called Bayshore Playground, located at 14 54th Place, in Long Beach, CA.

    That's on "Bayshore Beach", on the east side of 54th Place, just north of E. Ocean Blvd, where the Long Beach peninsula joins the mainland - about a mile southeast of the Belmont Pier.

    The small beach park includes a small cluster of sporting facilities, playground equipment for kids, and a co-op pre-school.

    On the north edge of the sports courts, right on the sand (next to the handball court), there's a small, thatch-roofed bamboo structure where you can rent kayaks (at $10 an hour), that acts as a beach refreshment stand, selling snacks, French fries & beverages. (They also do parties and weddings on the beach, by bringing in extra tables.)

    They even have their own website at

    The producers used the thatch-topped framework of the café and elaborately dressed the set to look like a much more sophisticated restaurant. But if you look closely, you can still see the bare (bamboo) bones of the Kayak Kafe.

    They shot two other scenes at Bayshore Beach for this same episode:  the scene where Lila buys roofies from a drug dealer was shot near the basketball courts. And the scene where Dexter plants evidence against Doakes was shot at the end of the adjacent pier.

    ( I shot the photos below in 2008, showing a wider view of the tiki hut area where they staged the dining scene. )

    But pull back a ways, and suddenly the restaurant doesn't look quite as sophisticated...


    Here is an aerial photo of the beach area.  And here is a map link.

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

    A. This was an easy one for me.

    Last season, they used this same area for another restaurant scene (and it was also glimpsed in the background during a scene where Dexter arrived at the villain's lair), so I went there to check it out last year, and shot photos of the area.  I immediately recognized it when I saw it again on the show.

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