Mignonette knew it needed to pull a trick play.
As the plucky Cinderella, a No. 16 seed which wore its glass slippers all the way to the finals of the Miami Herald Munch Madness bracket challenge, they needed any edge against Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill, a South Florida-founded institution with 23 restaurants that revealed itself a vote-getting juggernaut.
So they went on the road to scout them.
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Co-owners Ryan Roman and chef Danny Serfer decided to visit every Flanigan’s, from Kendall to Stuart, all in one day — a 13 1/2 hour road trip on April 1, and no, it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke. They posted a picture on Instagram and Twitter from each location, eating their way down the east coast of Florida. They chronicled their trip with the hash tags #YourBiggestFlans and #FlanClub.
They may have lost to Flanigan’s in the finals. But they won the social media game. (And they collected some pretty sweet green plastic cups.)
“We needed to do something — look at how many votes they were getting!” Roman said.
“We don’t have 23 restaurants, but we do have my new minivan, which I got for my two children, and we hit the road,” added Serfer.
Miami boys, Roman and Serfer grew up Flanigan’s fans (Serfer ate there Monday, he said). Serfer went on to create hearty, casual comfort food at his Blue Collar restaurant and everything from baked oysters to raw bar and elegant seafood at his two Mignonette restaurants (in MiMo and North Miami Beach). They also love road trips — “Road tripping is in our blood,” Serfer said.
“We thought it would be fun and funny,” Roman said.
They drove from the North Miami Beach location of Mignonette to Stuart Saturday morning and worked their way down US-1 to Kendall, finishing with dessert in North Miami Beach. They had Rockin’ Rib Rolls and hot wings, prime rib (after 4 p.m.) and a Mahi Francaise that was “truly excellent,” Roman said. Serfer pounded more garlic rolls than he cared to mention, before finishing up with a Banzai Brownie (complete with Oreo cookies and Kit Kat bars).
They came away full and with a deep appreciation for the consistency Flanigan’s showed in the kitchen and the professionalism of the staff. They even were tickled when Flanigan’s played along online, firing off images of their ubiquitous green cups and a meme of Joseph “Big Daddy” Flanigan sitting on the Iron Throne.
“It exposed them to our diners and our diners to theirs. It was a win-win,” Serfer said. “And it was so much fun.”