Video: Liberty City’s best kept secret – Conch salad in a nail salon

We didn’t think we’d find Miami’s best conch salad inside a nail salon, but we did.

In 1988, Willie Brown took over his dad’s nail salon, Nails by Daddy, and he’s been a household name in Liberty City ever since. They call him “Daddy.”

Fourteen years later, after a trip to the Bahamas, he decided to expand the business — just not in the way you’d expect. He didn’t upgrade the equipment or add more stations or chairs. Instead, he set up a small kitchen in the back of the salon for preparing conch salad and parked a “Big Blue Food Truck” out back so his mom could make conch fritters and other tropical treats.

You can find the full menu displayed inside the salon. Fun fact: They’re open for breakfast, and most items on the menu are $10 or less.

Willie’s in his 50s (though he doesn’t look a day over 40), and he’s never relied on Facebook or Instagram to promote his business.

“Word of mouth — that’s all you need,” he says. “If you give people great taste, they’re going to tell it to everybody.”

Word of mouth has given Willie a new nickname: “Mr. Tropical Conch.”

Tropical Conch, located at 4500 N.W. 12th Ave., is open until 6 p.m. every day, except Sundays. You can also find them at Jazz in the Gardens and the Miami Youth Fair.