Jose Mendin on PB Station and Pawn Broker: "A Little Sexier" Experience by the Pubbelly Boys

PB Station opened Monday at the Langford Hotel at 121 SE First St. in downtown Miami, signaling two landmark moves for the Pubbelly Boys, who own and operate the restaurant. 

This is the first foray to the mainland for the restaurant group that consists of Jose Mendin, Andreas Schreiner, and Sergio Navarro. It's also the first time the boys are helming a bar. Pawn Broker rooftop bar and lounge offers classic cocktails, tapas, and views of the Miami skyline.

PB Station features American cuisine with an emphasis on meats and seafood. The menu, created by Mendin, will be executed by executive chef Guillermo Concha, who has been with the Pubbelly family since 2010. Pastry chef Maria Orantes and Pubbelly partner Navarro are in charge of the restaurant's desserts. 

Just a few days into service, Mendin says things are going well. "We're still getting used to the space, tweaking little things in the kitchen, but overall it's great. There's a different feel than our other concepts. We wanted to give diners a different experience." The dining room, modeled after a train station, is "a little sexier" than the other Pubbelly concepts, according to the chef. "It feels like a chophouse, but it's not. Most restaurants here I call 'Miami chic.' Here, you almost feel like you're not in Miami at all. It's very New York."

Mendin says Pawn Broker is unique. "It's like nothing else in Miami, that's for sure. On the patio, you're surrounded by buildings. It's a beautiful setting."

Although this is the Pubbelly Boys' first foray off the Beach, Mendin says he has already noticed many familiar faces in the dining room. "So many people have been customers of Pubbelly. Some of them were regulars for years, but they disappeared. Now they're coming back to PB Station."
The chef says it's a testament to the fact that many locals have decided to work and live off the Beach. "I've spoken to a lot of people, and they tell me they don't want to cross the bridges because the Beach is too hard to get to. A lot of people have moved to midtown. Yesterday, we saw so many people we thought we had lost a connection with."

PB Station's menu incorporates many items from PB Steak and the PB Fish pop-up, Mendin says, but don't call it a steakhouse. "When we decided to do the restaurant at the hotel, we saw the space and decided it was a good opportunity to rebrand the concept and do what we really wanted to do." 

Mendin describes the menu, driven by steak and seafood, as akin to the fare at an American craft eatery. "It's very approachable. You can have oysters from the raw bar, you can have a steak, or you can have composed dishes. You can also have just a few appetizers." Menu items include seafood-based charcuterie such as octopus pepperoni, rock shrimp mortadella, and Thai lobster sausage; Florida Wagyu filet mignon with foie butter and caramelized garlic; and Gulf swordfish with rock shrimp, charred pearl onion, and green peppercorn sauce.

The partnership with the newly opened Langford Hotel is a great fit, Mendin says. "The owners of the hotel are big fans of ours. They used to come into our restaurants all the time. They are very cool people."

Pawn Broker features cocktails by Derek Stilmann. "He's been with us for a long time," Mendin says. "Derek came back just for this project. He's basically re-creating some of the most timeless classic cocktails." Stilmann is also in charge of cocktails for PB Station. 

PB Station is open for breakfast seven days a week from 6:30 to 11 a.m.; lunch daily from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; and dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m.

Pawn Broker is open Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.. Happy hour is offered Monday through Friday from 5 to 7 p.m.

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