is set to open soon at Mary Brickell Village, bringing the popular New York City mini-chain to South Florida. Jim Goldman, one of the principals, showed me around the restaurant. The floors were being worked on, so we chatted outside for a while.
It was during that chat that I found out Goldman had owned some of my favorite haunts and dive bars in New York. If you lived, worked, or schooled in Manhattan during the '80s and '90s, you'll be quite familiar with the names: Lucy's Retired Surfer's Club, Bamboo Bernie's, Bear Bar.
If you're not indoctrinated and you're picturing a place filled with tiki torches, PBR cans, and girls dancing on the bar, well, yes. These were the places for Columbia University students and Wall Streeters to forget about stressful exams and bad trades and knock back a few. The places were dark, the music loud, the vibe great, and the drinks cheap (in fact, they were usually free for women).
In 1989, Goldman's focus turned to Brother Jimmy's BBQ (though a Bamboo
Bernie's still exists in St. Maarten). What began as a small hangout
with barbecue items became a hub of activity for college alumni
associations such as Duke, Clemson, Maryland, Georgia Tech, and other
folks homesick for a taste of the South.
Goldman is taking the
best parts of his five New York restaurants and bringing them to Miami
with the intention of serving good barbecue and drinks at fair
prices, averaging about $8 for an appetizer and $14 for a entrée with sides. Drinks will be about half the price of those at most Miami
establishments, including the signature Swamp Water (served in a 64-ounce fishbowl), and Carolina Cooler (a cool mix of vodka, lemonade, and
Like in New York, the restaurant will attract
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football fans. Good 'ol American college football, especially, will be shown on the multiple TV sets. "I want
this place to be about having a good time without breaking the bank," Goldman said as he pointed out the Jack Daniel's kegs lining the walls. "We actually have someone go down to the Daniel's distillery and pick out our own casks." (Best job ever.)
Come for the nostalgia, and stay for the food.