Japanese Restaurant and Lounge Queen Opens in Historic Miami Beach Theater

The main dining room at Queen Miami Beach
The main dining room at Queen Miami Beach Photo by Sebastian Bednarski
The iconic Paris Theater, built by famed Art Deco architect Henry Hohauser in 1945, has been reimagined into the glamourous restaurant and lounge Queen Miami Beach.

Owned by entrepreneur and restaurateur Mathieu Massa, the spot officially opens on Thursday, February 9.

“This space has a soul,” Massa – who notably owns and operates El Tucán – tells New Times. “Before me, the seller, who had owned the property for more than thirty years, referred to the property as she. And, let me tell you, she has a magnetic energy with so much going for it.”

According to Massa, he went under contract for the Fifth Street staple in November 2019. The history of the space – the site of shoots for music videos and album covers by the likes of U2, Madonna, and Jennifer Lopez – originally drew Massa to the space as well as its open layout in which he says, “there are no columns anywhere.”

Faced with the pandemic shortly after acquiring the building, Massa forged ahead. He says the most difficult components in morphing the space were the preservation elements, which include its original crown molding motifs, railings, and more. Today – after a $40 million redevelopment – the space shines from its gold-door façade and well beyond.

Visual components include a black and white mural in its entrance by Miami artist Gonzalo Fuenmayor, a Salon lounge decked out in Lobmeyr chandeliers, and a grandiose dining room, which includes mezzanine flooring and a VIP lounge.

The focal point of the dining room is its kitchen with looking glass windows, where morsels from chief culinary officer Julien Jouhannaud and executive chef Mitchell Hesse are concocted. Jouhannaud has overseen a number of Michelin-starred operations, notably Le Louis XV - Alain Ducasse à l'Hôtel de Paris in Monaco, and Hesse had held top-chef roles at Cote, Novikov, and Zuma. Massa says, “with chefs Julien and Mitchell, I have surrounded myself with the best chefs and the best staff in the world.”
click to enlarge
Chipotle miso lamb chops: on the menu at Queen Miami Beach
Photo by Gabriel Sanchez
The menu includes raw bar items, sushi, sea and land offerings (including chipotle miso lamb chops and a 14-ounce Wagyu beef ribeye with wasabi chimichurri) and a special “Butcher Reserve” menu spanning the cut spectrum, from a skirt option to a 42-ounce Japanese A5 bone-in ribeye. There’s an “omakase counter” on the second floor, overlooking the main dining room.

In total, the restaurant and lounge space seats 350 and can hold up to 780 for standing events. On that note, Massa hopes for the bedazzled Queen to serve as a multifaceted hotspot for corporate events, fashion shows, and major Miami events during its reign.

Queen Miami Beach. 550 Washington Ave., Miami Beach;  Tuesday through Saturday from 6 p.m. until late; Opens on February 9.
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Jesse Scott is a Fort Lauderdale-based contributor for Miami New Times covering culture, food, travel, and entertainment in South Florida and beyond. His work has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet, National Geographic, and his hometown newspaper, the Free Lance-Star, among others.

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