Chef Allen Susser, chef/owner of Chef Allen’s, closed his doors Easter Sunday after 25 years in Miami’s Aventura.
In an interview today, he said, “I’ve loved every day I walked in the door. But this allows me to grow in other directions.”
Susser was one of the original Mango Gang chefs from the ’80s who put South Florida’s tropical cuisine on the radar of food lovers around the world. Known for his menus incorporating tropical ingredients, fresh seafood and flavors from Florida and the neighboring Caribbean, Susser was a driving force in changing the restaurant scene in South Florida.
“I love the restaurant. It’s done everything I wanted it to do. I won the James Beard Award, we’ve had great food events here. People have met, gotten married here – we’ve had countless birthdays, anniversaries and celebrations. It’s been a real part of South Florida life, and that’s what I want people to remember about it – it was a place to be in Miami,” he said.
Jewish delis – maybe
Susser says he has numerous ventures in the works, including, maybe a Jewish deli. A few months ago he told me he’d like to open a real New York-style Jewish deli in the west Delray Beach area, and possibly others. He says it’s because misses great pastrami that he had growing up in Brooklyn.
His love for great New York bagels has already led to his affiliation consulting with the Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co., which has just opened in Beverly Hills, Calif., with Larry King as the spokesman. “We have six locations and are about to open in South Beach. We are going to be franchising that and opening stores around the country.”
There’s nothing to compare to these bagels, he says. “When I was growing up, you’d go down the street and go into the bagel shop and ask, ‘Which ones are hot?’ People go into a bagel shop today and don’t realize they were once hot out of an oven. We’re bringing that back.”
He’s also planning to franchise his Burger Bar, like the 2-month-old one at Fort Lauderdale’s airport. “We’ll be putting up stand-alones as well as others in other airports,” he said.
He’ll also continue to consult for Jade Mountain Resort in St. Lucia and is working on a chocolate book based on the chocolates produced there.
He plans to keep busy and active in the community he loves. “I don’t have a day of regret at the restaurant,” he said. “I’m looking forward to staying on the food scene in South Florida. I love it here.”