Welcome to One Year In, a feature in which Eater sits down for a chat with the chefs and owners of restaurants celebrating their one year anniversary.
After nearly a year of renovations and 40 years as one of Miami Beach's most see and be sceney steakhouses, The Forge reopened its doors last April to reveal a massive nip/tuck--and a new chef, Dewey LoSasso. “I didn’t just want to design a restaurant, but a living space where people can create their own worlds. At the new Forge you are able to enjoy a five-course meal with wine pairings or order a burger and a glass of Bordeaux by the fire and read art books or check your Facebook,” said owner Shareef Malnik. “There are no rules.” A year and a few months after the reopening, we talked to Malnik and asked him how, if anything, things have changed.
A year later, how are things going at the new and improved Forge?
After one year of being open the Forge has achieved many of the goals we set during its creation.
I don’t believe in regretting something one doesn’t have the power to change, but the reinvention and rebranding turned out so well that I wonder why I didn’t do it sooner.
Six months into the restaurant's reopening, what, if anything, changed?
Six months after the restaurant had opened we tweaked the menu to incorporate new dishes and ingredients based on the best of the local bounty. Four times throughout the year we change the menu to focus on seasonal ingredients and artisanal products at their prime.
What has been the biggest failure?
There haven’t been any failures, just opportunities to learn and improve.
The greatest success has been making the restaurant more accessible to a wider demographic.
Would you ever open another restaurant in Miami?
I would love to open more restaurants in Miami and I’m considering a more casual Forge brand for a couple of locations.
What has been your most memorable night this past year?
The most memorable night was the first night we opened after “friends and family” and my GM and I looked at each other and said, “Wow, this actually works!"
How is brunch going?
Brunch is a labor of love. I love brunches where I can get healthy choices such as smoothies, organic options, etc. in addition to the indulgent choices. I’m happy to say that is what we have created. Also, we have designed our brunch to be “kid friendly” with an arts and crafts table using environmentally friendly art projects to activate kids' creativity. Kids can make something for Mom while the parents are brunching.
Any other things you plan to introduce at the restaurant in the coming days?
Our bar is really building a sports component with regulars coming in to watch the Heat or other of their favorite teams.
One word to describe the past year, business wise?
Predictions for The Forge 2.0's second year?
For our second year we will continue to prepare and serve, “one dinner at a time.”