Burger Bites

Burger bars continue to be all the rage in South Florida. Today we bite into all the juicy details on two new places…


Heavy Burger — one of two new, North Miami-Dade restaurants to hop on the burger train still barreling through South Florida — is all about living and eating large. The pancake-sized patties are juicy, cooked the way you ask and overflowing with messy toppings like chili, sautéed mushrooms, grilled pineapple and avocado. Burgers with heavy-metal names like “Motley” and “Head-Banger” dominate the menu. Most come on a challah or onion roll.

With brown paper on the tables and white curtains hanging from bright red rebar, the decor is frat house meets nightclub. Co-owner Mark Panunzio, a former Miami-Dade assistant state attorney and criminal defense lawyer (a felony DUI plea set him on a new career path), works the tables like a personable Jon Bon Jovi. His partner, Chad Steinberg, used to help the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. open restaurants. The Aventura crowd that frequents the rock-themed eatery looks like it’s stepped out of a Poison music video, and the blaring tunes match the posters on the walls, from The Clash and The Cure to The Beatles and Pink Floyd.

What Worked

  • A too big to finish classic Heavy Burger – a 10-ounce Black Angus patty topped with American cheese, bacon, Bibb lettuce, slice of tomato and red onion
  • The Destroyer – a 10-ounce burger with provolone, roasted red peppers, garlic aioli, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, lettuce and tomato.
Chili cheese fries
  • Mozzarella sticks
  • Wings
  • Onion rings fried in a light beer batter
  • Cheesecake layered with chocolate cake

A few miles south, Roxy Miami has a similar burger-centric menu. Most of the waitresses, clad in skimpy black shorts and white blouses tied at their exposed midriffs, are students from nearby Johnson & Wales University, and these girls know how to hustle. When one caught me looking around, she hurried over to make sure our order had been taken. With exposed ductwork, metal walls and neon beer signs in the windows, Roxy is cheaper. In this case, you get what you pay for.

What Worked

  • The Juicy Lucy – a pizza burger topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese 
Pickle chips – amazingly flavorful dill pickle wedges fried in a light batter
  • Roxy Wings – lightly grilled and swimming in yummy pepper-berry sauce


What Didn’t Work

  • Overcooked & dry burgers
  • A cold slice of apple pie surrounded by Cool Whip
  • Banana pudding overwhelmed by Cool Whip



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