On the heels of its 50th Anniversary, Miami Beach’s landmark steakhouse The Forge is doing what any Miami Beach resident would do on the cusp of such a milestone. It’s getting a facelift.
The restaurant is closing effective immediately to undergo kitchen renovations, dining room design changes, and, says a press release, “overall brand enhancements.” The last time the restaurant was updated was ten years ago.
We asked if it will keep the same sorta vibe, to which a rep said, “The signature plates will stay the same.”
Everyone likes to say they were on Miami Beach first, but The Forge, along with Joe’s Stone Crab, really has dibs. The place first opened in the roaring ‘20s and was eventually purchased and remodeled in the ‘60s by owner Shareef Malnik’s dad, Alvin Malnik, who was on a first name basis with everyone from Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin to major mob figures. After surviving a fire and Hurricane Andrew in the 1990s, The Forge and its 300,000+ vintage wine cellar, reemerged on the South Beach scene as the place to be seen stabbing your fork into a fancy slab of meat next to a slew of A-list celebs on any given night. Wednesday nights, the bold faced and beautiful would convene like paparazzi-ed Pavlov’s dogs for their close ups. Regulars on a budget who cleaned up well would go to gawk and bask in the celeb-soaked carnivorous carnival of rococo revelry.
Then there was that time Michael Jackson appeared with some young pals for the elder Malnik’s 70th birthday party. Jacko was a Malnik pal and house guest. And then in 2009, The Forge closed for year for a $10 million remodel, which included a fanciful Francis Froissard-interior that, to some, lost the original clubby vibe of the storied steakhouse.
One thing it didn’t lose was customers. A new menu, some chef shuffles, and fast forward to now, and The Forge charges ahead to its unprecedented, impressive big 5-0 in what will surely keep past, present and future generations of fine diners, oenophiles, and scene chasers in bacchanalian bliss.
With an expected reopening sometime in October, owner Shareef Malnik says, “With nearly 50 years in service and 10 years since our last renovation, we feel it is our duty to constantly improve the brand and ensure we are always upgrading the service and high-quality cuisine that our loyal patrons have grown to know and love. We look forward to catering to our guests for the next 50 years and can’t wait to see you in the fall.”