In a deal that marks the end of a dynasty’s control, hospitality mogul David Grutman plans to take over The Forge in Miami Beach, The Real Deal has learned.
Alvin Malnik opened The Forge in the 1950s, and the glitzy restaurant was known as a hangout for celebrities like the late Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor.
The restaurant at 432 West 41st Street closed temporarily in 2019 with plans to reopen, until it was reported in December that the restaurant auctioned off its items. It was the second-oldest restaurant in South Florida after Joe’s Stone Crab, according to Malnik’s website. Malnik handed over control of the property to his son, Shareef Malnik, in the early 1990s.
Organized crime figures also frequented the Forge, according to the New York Times. The restaurant featured a 300,000-bottle vintage wine cellar, purple chandeliers, stained glass windows and other extravagant furnishings.
Grutman, a restaurateur, nightclub owner and newly minted hotelier who is known for his LIV nightclub at the Fontainebleau, has been expanding since he sold a majority stake in his Groot Hospitality to Live Nation Entertainment for an undisclosed amount in 2019.
Grutman’s timeline for leasing the space is unclear. Records show a notice of commencement for an interior demolition was filed with Miami-Dade County in March of this year. An entity tied to Alvin Malnik owns the property.
The Forge deal has been in the works since late 2019, sources told TRD. A spokesperson for Grutman declined to comment, and Shareef Malnik did not respond to a request for comment.
The Malniks are big philanthropists in South Florida, known for their work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the annual Make-A-Wish garden party. Alvin Malnik, a developer and businessman, was a co-owner of Title Loans of America.
Grutman recently partnered with Pharrell and developers Michael D. Fascitelli and Eric Birnbaum to open the Goodtime Hotel farther south on Washington Avenue. His other concepts include Swan and Bar Bevy in the Miami Design District, also with Pharrell; and Komodo in Brickell; Papi Steak in Miami Beach; Planta South Beach; and Planta Queen in Coconut Grove.
State records show Grutman formed two new companies early last year: Forge Management 41st Street and Groot 41st Street.
The deal could bring new life to the sleepy street, which connects to the mainland via I-195. Few properties on the commercial corridor have traded in recent years. In 2016, Hyatt Hotels paid more than $229 million for the Confidante Miami Beach on Collins Avenue and 41st Street.
Grutman is also reportedly in talks to lease the former Punch Bowl Social space at the Wynwood Garage, according to the Commercial Observer.