People love Flanigan’s ribs. They love the curly fries. They love the chicken wings.
But do they love them so much it can make them fall in love?
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It was certainly meaningful enough for one South Florida couple, who posed for their engagement photos at the Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill in Coconut Grove where they met two years ago. The Florida restaurant chain, founded in Hialeah in 1959, posted the pictures to their 19,000 Instagram followers on Wednesday.
Hundreds people immediately “hearted” the love birds’ Instagram pictures. In them, Elisa Cantero and José “Tuto” Moreiras lovingly feed each other nachos and sip from the same Flanigan’s green cup a la “Lady and the Tramp.” (You know you’re from Miami if you have enough of those ubiquitous cups at home to complete service for 12.)
“Love at first bite,” Flanigan’s wrote. “Bringing people together one chicken wing at a time.”
Sure, they could have gone with sultry stares at Vizcaya. Or whimsical poses beneath the omnipresent Umbrella Sky project in Coral Gables. But nothing says “most-Miami engagement photo” quite like smooching over a smiling logo of founder “Papa Joe” Flanigan.
“You can’t not love Flanigan’s,” said Moreiras, 26.
The couple sat at a communal table at that very Flanigan’s with mutual friends two yeas ago, when Cantero told a friend out loud, “Wow, Tuto’s so cute,” just as the jukebox stopped playing. Yes, she says, it was super awkward.
But it also launched the romance between the Belen Jesuit and Our Lady of Lourdes Academy grads. They were engaged in December of 2017, and when it was time to take their engagement pictures, Cantero, 23, demanded at least some of them be shot at the Flanigan’s where they met. (Note to their parents: Photographer Karla Garcia also took serious photos of them staring longingly into one another’s eyes at Stiltsville.)
“But the more natural version of how we are were done at Flanigan’s,” Moreiras said.
Cantero contacted Flanigan’s through social media in June, and the couple was invited to the store an hour before it opened, where the chef styled their plates of ribs, chicken wings and nachos for the pictures. The store also comped all their food, and Moreiras left a nice tip.
“We literally ate everything then went back to the apartment and knocked out for three hours,” Cantero said.
Flanigan’s makes people do crazy things. Two years ago, Mignonette chef Danny Serfer and owner Ryan Roman visited all 23 Flanigan’s stores in a single day, posting pictures to social media to prove it. (The chain won the inaugural Miami Herald Munch Madness 2017 restaurant challenge.)
No word yet on whether the couple will serve rib rolls (Cantero’s favorite) and chicken wings (Moreiras’ choice) to the guests at their January 2019 wedding.
“I mean, if you’re not ordering the rib rolls, I don’t even know what you’re doing,” Cantero said.