Last Friday at 10:30 a.m., dozens of people were already lined up outside Bobby's Burger Palace in Dadeland Mall's new wing in anticipation of being one of the first to experience the celebrity chef's burgers, fries, and shakes.
Flay was inside his new restaurant to host a media preview of his certified Angus beef burgers, fries, salads, milkshakes, and malteds before the grand opening at noon.
Of special interest? All burgers ($6.75 to $7.75) can be substituted with a ground turkey patty or grilled chicken breast, and everything can be "crunchified" for free -- which simply means topping your sandwich with potato chips to add crunchy texture to your burger.
Flay also noted that his milkshakes and malteds ($5 each) are made with 11 ounces of ice cream, sharing that anything less is simply "flavored milk."
The burgers themselves are large and flavorful. The crunchified Bobby Blue Burger ($7.75), made with blue cheese, bacon, lettuce, and tomato, is a towering sandwich of meat. Regular fries come with a side of BBP fry sauce, and sweet potato fries are served with honey mustard horseradish sauce ($3 each). All shakes are $5 (add real whipped cream at no additional cost) and come in ten flavors ranging from vanilla bean and dark chocolate to cola, mango, and coconut. Try the pistachio, a favorite of Flay's -- and ours.
Flay personally greeted his fans when the restaurant opened -- shaking hands and posing for pictures with the hundreds of people who came out to try his burgers and fries.
We spoke to Flay about his newest Burger Palace and why he chose Miami for his latest venture.
New Times: What made you choose Miami as your newest Bobby's Burger Palace location?
Bobby Flay: The bottom line is that I'm very hands on when it comes to my restaurants. I go to my restaurants all the time, and if it's a place I like to go to a lot, I'm going to be there more. I love Miami. The food is great; the energy is great. I think opening a Bobby's Burger Palace in Miami is a great opportunity, especially in this mall.
How did you choose Dadeland Mall for your location?
We do our research for sure. For a concept like this, the check average is $10, and I think it works well here. I wanted my restaurant to be in a place where there are lots of people, shopping and enjoying themselves. I think that if I opened one of my higher-end concepts, it would be in Miami Beach.
Are you planning on opening one of your restaurants in Miami Beach, then?
We'd like to. Listen, Miami is hot. It's hard to find real estate.
This is Art Basel weekend. Are you planning on taking in any shows or parties?
The only art I'm doing this weekend is cheeseburgers.
Can fans expect a real Bobby Flay experience at Bobby's Burger Palace?
It's very much a Bobby Flay experience. I'm sharing the way I want to eat burgers, fries, and shakes. This is the way like it, and I hope that I can get people turned on to the same thing. People who love burgers are very loyal. They've probably been eatingat their favorite burger place for the past 20 years, and I just want them to try mine. My goal is to get people loving my burgers and craving them and thinking about them three days later.
You have both high-end restaurant concepts and Bobby's Burger Palace, which is fast/casual. Do you see a trend toward more casual dining because of the economy still in recovery?
I don't know the answer to that question because I'm not an economist. And I don't really think anyone knows where the market's going to go. So I can't worry about that. I can only do what I know how to do, and that's to cook food and serve people. I think there are restaurants for every different occasion, so I think that no matter who you are, there's a time and a place for every dining experience. All I can worry about with this particular concept is that I can be the best. Plus, I think that burgers work in every economy.
What's your favorite burger on the menu?
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The last few days I've been eating a lot of Miami burgers because I've been inspired. But I like the LA Burger because I like avocados. I also like to crunchify my burger because I like the sensation. I love the pistachio shake and also the black and white malted, because it takes me back to my childhood.