For Shareef Malnik, the Forge is much more than a restaurant. It's part of his DNA.
The Miami Beach steak-and-wine house, enjoyed by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Richard Burton, and Judy Garland, was originally owned by his father, Al, who purchased the supper club in 1968. The chic restaurant was the place to go for the next two decades, with politicians, celebrities, and the well-heeled dining there. Then, in 1991, a roof fire shuttered the Forge. It was then that Shareef Malnik took the reigns, pledging to restore the restaurant to its former glory.
Through recessions and hurricanes, Malnik persisted, keeping the Forge one of the most popular restaurants in Miami Beach. What are the rewards for such tenacity and hard work? Maybe a cozy little beach house?
Malnik recently shared his home with Mode Studios for its "Rad Pad" segment. In the video, Malnik walks viewers through his South of Fifth home. Built in the 1920s as a small, eight-unit apartment building, it was converted into a private residence by artist Dana Hotchkiss.
Malnik purchased the residence, located on Ocean Drive at Second Street, and set out to do a total remodel. "I completely gutted the building, created multiple double-high spaces, and added a three-floor addition on the rear of the building, with garages on the ground floor, bedrooms on the second, and a pool on the rooftop. I worked closely with brilliant architect Juan Lezcano."
And if you're going to design your dream castle right, you're going to need a tower, right? Malnik confirms that theory. "I always wanted a tower and built a 42-foot observation tower in the house."
There's also a movie theater, a fireplace, a communal table that seats at least 12, and a spiral staircase that's worthy of a place at PAMM — all in white with hints of beach-washed wood tones.
If you'd like to talk real estate with Malnik, he'll likely be at the Forge's Wednesday-night party, which returns for the summer. The restaurateur has brought back the famed dinner-and-music experience with an evening of live music and DJs that includes performances from singers who have appeared on American Idol and The Voice, local musicians, and even a live saxophone ensemble at the bar.
In addition, there's music Friday and Saturday. Host Amaris Jones revives Soul Kitchen Sundays, with DJ Ynot spinning R&B and funk, interspersed with live neo-soul. Performances begin at 9 p.m. It's the next best thing to being invited to a dinner party at Malnik's beach house.
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.