The biggest problem with owning a burger museum is visitors constantly want to eat the exhibits.
The Burger Museum by Burger Beast found a solution: dinners right on the museum floor.
The museum’s founder, Sef Gonzalez, will begin a series of retro-inspired dinners inside the museum at the Magic City Casino. He has partnered with the former chef at two Coral Gables favorites, Swine and The Local, Phil Bryant, and his wife, Veronica Valdivia, both disciples of New World Cuisine founder Norman Van Aken.
The first dinner is Dec. 4, and more than half of the 40 seats have already sold out.
“I like the idea of people coming in for more than the museum,” said Gonzalez, a comfort food blogger who founded America’s first museum dedicated to hamburgers in 2016. “It lends itself to being more than what it is.”
Gonzalez pictured gourmet versions of the comfort food (even fast food) he grew up eating. Bryant and Valdivia, who branched off to start a dinner and catering company, Heirloom Hospitality, decided it could be fun challenge to reinvent those dishes into something elevated and modern.
It’s the latest endeavor for Gonzalez, who started selling his own My-T-Fine Burgers for the first time in September as part of a pop-up series that has continually drawn long lines. The next event takes place Nov. 13 at a Cuban-Mexican fusion restaurant, A-Mari-Mix (9700 SW 24th St., Westchester), where he will sell his version of a frita cubana hamburger. A semi-permanent location for his burgers is coming to Westchester in January, he said.
Meanwhile, he is working a book, “All About the Burger: A history of America’s favorite sandwich,” ($17, Mango Publishing, available for preorder on Amazon.com) which launches April 15.
For the first Night at the Museum Dinner, each of the five courses takes inspiration from fast-food: Burger King, Wendy’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken’s little known roast beef restaurants of the 1970s, Bob’s Big Boy burgers, and dessert from McDonald’s.
For the sweet course, they turned to Miami’s new cookie queen, Cindy Kruse of Cindy Lou’s Cookies in Little River, to use her 25 years experience as a pastry chef make a version of McDonald’s cookies.
Count on Bryant and Valdivia, who are working on a new Maryland-style pit barbecue venture called Johnnie’s Pit Barbecue Sandwiches, to make the second-course roast beef memorable.