Food

First he built a burger museum in Miami. Now he’s opening his first burger restaurant

First he built a museum to house his love of burgers.

Now he’s bringing his favorite burger to the masses: his own.

Sef Gonzalez, the comfort food connoisseur known as the Burger Beast, who “approves” restaurants that meet at the intersection of tasty and affordable, is opening his own burger and shake restaurant in Westchester.

Bonus: Gonzalez’s My-T-Fine Burgers will be housed inside of one of Miami’s favorite doughnut shops, Mojo Donuts in Westchester. Gonzalez will take over a kiosk Mojo Donuts had built for Sweet Melody ice cream, a deal which fell through just before an anticipated opening this spring. The restaurant is slated to open mid August.

“I’ll finally have a place where I can create my burger fantasies,” Gonzalez said.

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Gonzalez has been testing his burgers, a blend of beef from Hallandale Beach’s Sunshine Provisions, at pop ups for several years. Last year his burgers sold out at events at the nearby Arbetter’s hot dogs and at Union Beer Store in Little Havana.

The menu will be simple at first — a double cheeseburger made the Burger Beast way. That is the patties are smashed on a flat top grill to give them an umami crust, topped with onions, pickles and what he’s calling Beast sauce, a Sriracha ketchup with a touch of guava. Gonzalez staunchly argues against lettuce and tomatoes on burgers.

“Never. Well, I shouldn’t say never,” he says, laughing. “It just doesn’t really interest me.”

Seasoned french fries and onion rings are available as a side order. And the only way to finish, he says, is with a deep-fried apple turnover (remember the original McDonald’s fried apple pies) or a flan milkshake — yes, flan — called the Westchester Famous from Creamy Creations.

Eventually, the menu will add his version of a Cuban frita, what he calls a “lovechild” of two of Miami’s best-loved frita makers, El Rey de las Fritas and El Mago de las Fritas. There will also be a meatloaf sandwich on Texas toast and a sloppy Joe-style “loose meat” sandwich with grilled onions, American cheese, Beast sauce and crushed Munchos chips — a throwback junk food snack for those in the know.

And there will be occasional one-off burgers inspired by his travels to the most beloved burger restaurants throughout America.

While waiting for the former ice cream shop to be retrofitted, Gonzalez will sell his burgers Sundays at his Burger Beast Burger Museum at the Magic City Casino from noon to 5 p.m.

Burger Beast’s My-T-Fine Burgers

8870 Bird Road, Westchester; 305-223-6656

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