Miami has a new museum to explore and a beast to thank for it. Burger Beast, that is. South Florida food blogger Sef Gonzalez (aka Burger Beast) is a Miami boy (with Cuban roots) who started out as many of us do, with happy memories from his childhood of a weekly family outing to share a comforting, savory fast-food meal.
The way to this beast’s heart is through his stomach. Burger Beast has an insatiable passion for burgers. He converted his passion for burgers into a blog (www.burgerbeast.com) and an identity. From his monthly Wheelin’ Dealin’ Street Food Festival at Magic City Casino, which currently is the longest-running food truck festival in South Florida, to other passion projects such as the Burgie Awards, Croquetapalooza, Hamburger House Party, La Frita Showdown, Wiener Bash and so many more, Burger Beast has given South Florida foodies a lot to munch on.
When a friend gave him a sign from an old Burger Chef restaurant, it sparked a new appetite to collect comfort food memorabilia and to learn more about burger establishments, past and present. Fast forward a few years, and no one was surprised when Burger Beast pitched his idea to the folks at Magic City Casino (long-time Burger Beast fans and event partners) about setting up a museum dedicated to celebrating comfort food at the site of Flagler Greyhound Track’s original entrance.
“We’re happy to hitch our wagon to him,” said Izzy Havenick, whose family owns the casino. “We’re happy to be the bacon to his cheeseburger.”
The Burger Beast Burger Museum opened in late 2016. The 1,500 square-foot space, nestled on the ground floor of Magic City Casino, showcases comfort food from a retro lens, with more than 2,000 pieces of historical artifacts and collectables from burger and comfort food restaurants from South Florida and around the world.
The museum is the only one in the U.S. dedicated to burgers and comfort food. From the Kentucky Fried Chicken chicken coop and Wendy’s Drive-Thru signs to uniforms from Royal Castle, which got its start in South Florida, and Styrofoam containers from the original Burger King Whopper, it houses delicious memorabilia from a wistful bygone era, when things simply felt, simpler.
“I want something that evokes emotions in people, and that’s what the museum does,” Gonzalez said. “I want them to love this as much as I do.”
If you’re interested in coming to reminisce and grab your savory sampling of nostalgia, Burger Beast Burger Museum, located at Magic City Casino, 450 NW 37 Ave., is open from noon to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for kids.