Last night, The Forge officially announced its opening with a low-key, streetside event that included friends, media and City of Miami Beach officials. Forge owner Shareef Malnik was presented with a proclamation and key to the city by Miami Beach commissioner Michael Gongora, who noted The Forge is the "best Miami Beach has to offer in dining." (Gongora also acknowledged he held his first victory party at the landmark eatery back in 2006.) Malnik called the reported $10 million revamp a "labor of love," and said that a "better, stronger Forge" has emerged. He continued by commenting that he had a "moral obligation to keep this going."
Although the party was small, the unveiling was dramatic. The building was wrapped in white fabric, which was released by workers on the roof. The renovated façade is meant to evoke France in the 1800s with its neoclassical design. It certainly brightens up 41st Street.
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While the mood was celebratory, it was a far cry from the lavish parties Malnik used to throw with half-naked Cirque du Soleil-style acrobats. In fact, many diners at The Forge last night probably had no clue of what was going on outside. There was another foodie event happening simultaneously at the bar, where about 100 Friends of the SoBe Wine & Food Festival sipped wine and nibbled on chef Dewey LoSasso's playful hors d'oeuvres. The festival's guru, Lee Schrager, was on hand for both functions.
432 41st St., Miami Beach