For nearly two decades, Myles Chefetz has made a fortune by using decadence to attract diners. When the South Beach pioneer and chef-partner Michael Schwartz opened Nemo on Collins Avenue at First Street in 1995, the Asian-influenced seafood restaurant became an instant hit with the party creatures, artists, and models who inhabited the mostly undeveloped South Beach of the 1990s.
A year later, Chefetz opened Big Pink up the street. The retro-style diner with a huge menu remains a popular lunch spot for beachgoers and a late-night stop for the drunken revelers stumbling out of nearby nightclubs.
Yet it was Prime One Twelve, which opened around the corner on Ocean Drive in 2004, that instantly attracted celebrities and gave Chefetz real fame. Against the backdrop of South Beach, it has been the nation's top-grossing steak house for nearly a decade, earning upward of $23 million annually. Bentleys, Ferraris, and Maseratis still line up nightly on the curb. Bill Clinton, Magic Johnson, Richard Branson, and Dwyane Wade have all dined on $35-per-ounce A5 Kobe tenderloin flown in from Japan. Amazingly, there's always an hourlong wait that many after all these years remain content to endure.