Walk into the newest restaurant at the Mall at Wellington Green, and you would never guess it previously housed a Toojay’s.
With the May 10 opening of The Beauty and The Beeeef, the New York deli vibe has been replaced by graffiti, vintage light fixtures and a wall dedicated to a massive game of Scrabble — the same funky elements that have made the restaurant’s original Montreal location a hit.
“The idea is really to come here and have an experience that is not your usual dining experience,” said Sam Salah, co-owner of The Beauty and The Beeeef — yes, with four e’s. He and his two partners bring years of restaurant, bar and nightclub experience with them to their first U.S. location.
And Salah said it won’t be their last. The trio has sights set on other Florida cities, including Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and Delray Beach.
The restaurant offers a mix of creative burgers, including Salah’s favorite, the Captain Flame burger. It features 8 ounces of certified Angus beef with Monterey Jack cheese, smoked bacon, caramelized onions and spicy mayonnaise.
Salah also loves the restaurant’s poké bowl, a food he was introduced to on his recent honeymoon to Hawaii. Poké bowls typically include thinly sliced raw fish on a bed of fresh vegetables tossed in a tasty sauce.
“I just completely, completely fell in love with it,” he said.
All ingredients are fresh, Salah noted, so although the restaurant has a freezer, the only food in there at times might be ice cream. “We’d rather run out of something and let the client know that we’re out of it, as opposed to sticking something in the microwave,” he said.
The Beauty and The Beeeef also serves a variety of poutine, grilled cheeses and macaroni and cheese. On the sandwich list is the Polo Club, with grilled chicken, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise on country bread. The menu includes a lengthy list of cocktails.
Why Wellington? The team of Canadians was familiar with South Florida because “everyone from Canada vacations in Florida,” Salah said, laughing.
“My dad used to bring us here,” he said. “I was so small I couldn’t see straight out of the window, so I had to look up at the sky. The palm trees were just, wow. Incredible.”
While continuing to vacation in Florida into adulthood, Salah said he heard more and more about the area. And with a wife who loves horses, it was a perfect fit.
Construction on the restaurant was a learning experience for the team that previously only worked in Canada, with the process taking about a year and a half.
Inside, Salah transformed the 5,005-square-foot space, ripping down walls and ceilings to strip the place bare and rebuild it into a style Wellington hasn’t seen before. In addition to a giant magnetic Scrabble game on the wall, diners can play board games at their tables. Salah said they’ve stocked up with the staples, including Battleship, Clue and Monopoly.
The meaning of the restaurant’s name is personal for Salah’s team. The “Beeeef” — the four e’s are an inside joke — represents their mothers, who worked hard and made sacrifices so their children could succeed. “Without that factor in our lives, we’d be much weaker men,” Salah said.
The “Beauty” is in the restaurant’s experience itself. “It’s in the beauty of bringing people together, sitting people around some good food,” Salah said. “If we can create that memory, that’s what matters.”
The Beauty and The Beeeef
Where: 10300 Forest Hill Blvd., No. 239, in the former Toojay’s space between Macy’s and the movie theater in the Mall at Wellington Green