While Tracy Tyson vacationed in Miami Beach last week, she stopped by the new Señor Frogs on Collins Avenue.
After visiting the restaurant’s Jamaica and Bahamas locations, she wanted to party again at a favorite spot.
“There was a lot of action going on in there, and as long as my drink is good, I am happy, ” said Tyson, 41.
Señor Frogs, a Mexican restaurant known for its party-style atmosphere filled with sombreros, colored balloon hats and upbeat staff, opened at 1450 Collins Ave. in May.
The building, at the intersection of Española Way and Collins, was constructed in 1939 and the site of Hoffman’s Cafeteria for years. After Hoffman’s closed, other businesses and nightclubs, including the gay Warsaw Ballroom, moved in. Most recently the space belonged to Jerry’s Famous Deli.
When Señor Frogs leased the location, the company had not expected to run into numerous restrictions and décor guidelines.
The original architecture and interior were the same as when it opened in the late 1930s, until Jerry’s Famous Deli refurbished the building in 2000, using pictures of the way the building looked when it opened.
The Señor Frogs team ended up blending the Art Deco backdrop with an eccentric décor for which the Mexican restaurant is known. The plastic frogs at the Cancun location, for instance, don’t make an appearance at the Miami Beach entrance. And the floor tiles and bar’s antique style remain the same.
“It doesn’t have sometimes the colors nor a lot of what they have in other Caribbean and country locations like reds [and] greens,” said Dino Valencia, 43, Señor Frogs’ general manager. “We are more aggressive with those colors, and that surprised the team before they got into the lease.”
Inside however, managers placed the traditional frog cartoon portraits and paintings, along with streamers and dangling ceiling decorations. The restaurant also has a small pop-up store where customers can buy T-shirts, flip-flops and souvenirs.
In addition to the familiar Taco Tuesdays and Latin Night Saturdays, the Beach location will offer salsa classes and have a stage for live bands and presentations.
The Señor Frogs menu is the same: finger food and Mexican dishes, such as the chimichanga, a flour tortilla stuffed with meats, beans, rice and cheese.
They drink menu also contains drinks with names symbolizing the restaurant’s vibe.
The Frog’s Buster is served on the rocks and includes vodka, rum, gin, cranberry juice, simple syrup and lime juice, while the Frog’s Punch is served frozen in a mixture of vodka, rum, peach liqueur, passion fruit mix, lime juice and grenadine.
Valencia said that regardless of the difference in decor, the experience is the same as any other location.
“We spend a lot of time on training and the staff,” said Valencia, who has been with the company for over 20 years and has worked at locations in Cancun, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands. “Señor Frogs has been always about the staff. Our staff makes the party [go] on; that is outgoing, easygoing with our guests.”
Keisha Williams is a fan of the energy and the friendliness of the staff. After visiting the locations in Las Vegas and the Bahamas, she stopped by the Miami Beach location.
“It’s exciting,” Williams said. “Everybody is friendly, everyone is coming at you. It’s always like a party atmosphere, like a laid-back party.”
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For more info, visit frogsmiami.com.