February 2022 Business Spotlight
Fat Ronnie’s Burger Bar Brings the Sizzle to Miami Beach
Fat Ronnie’s Burger Bar represents five generations of gastronomic burger making — from Harlem to Martha’s Vineyard and now Miami Beach. The 1233 Lincoln Rd. culinary gem is a family-owned small business, operated by resident Reynaldo “Ronnie” Faust who has been serving the Miami Beach community with delicious creations since March 2020.
The family burger business was created by Ronnie’s grandmother, Maxine. In addition to being the first Black female union butcher in the country, she established Maxine’s in 1972, a burger joint in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood. Though small in stature, Maxine was determined to succeed in the male-dominated butcher industry. From the 1950s to the early 2000s, Ronnie’s family-owned and operated top restaurants, bars and butcher shops in Harlem, include Maxine’s, Meat Masters, Twenty-Two West, Dolls Bar and Jewel’s Bar.
“From an early age, I worked with my family, in my grandmother’s restaurant and butcher shop, learning signature recipes and perfecting the craft of burger making,” Ronnie shared. “In 2013, I expanded the family burger business by opening my first burger concept, Fat Ronnie’s Burger Bar in Martha’s Vineyard.”
Fat Ronnie’s Burger Bar mixed Maxine’s signature recipes with a modern day create-your-own burger concept and became — and continues to be — a local favorite and tourist destination hot spot in Martha’s Vineyard. The success of Fat Ronnie’s Burger Bar prompted Ronnie to explore a second location. After considering another New York City location, Ronnie decided on Miami Beach’s popular Lincoln Road, which has also been his winter home since 1989.
“Unfortunately, my grand opening was set for March 2020 — literally when Miami Beach restaurants and the world — were closing due to the pandemic,” Ronnie said. That was really a rough ride because we were new to the community, and nobody knew Fat Ronnie’s Burger Bar. But we persevered and respected our ancestor’s commitment to our heritage and culture, including my great grandfather, James, who was also a butcher, and my beloved grandmother, Maxine, the matriarch of the family. Their ability to overcome prejudice and thrive grounds me. My father, Ronald, the original Fat Ronnie, and my daughter, Reyna, a fifth-generation burger maker, motivate me to strive for excellence,” Ronnie added.
Fat Ronnie’s gourmet sandwiches are fully customizable with over 32 different toppings
and can be paired with yuca fries or tostones only at the Miami Beach location
Despite the many obstacles faced during the pandemic, Fat Ronnie’s Burger Bar is still open thanks in part to Ronnie’s unique family business legacy and the support of his family and Miami Beach. Ronnie is proud to have been able to retain his Miami Beach employees during the pandemic. When asked what advice he would give to other small businesses opening in Miami Beach, Ronnie encourages entrepreneurs to find a unique niche and start small.
Today, Fat Ronnie’s Burger Bar is full and active again! The two most popular items on the menu are the Fat Ronnie 9-ounce Black Angus burger and the half-pound lobster roll made of lobster meat from Maine, and a touch of mayonnaise on a toasted buttered potato roll. Gourmet sandwiches are fully customized with over 32 different toppings. Miami Beach favorites include yuca fries and tostones, made with local, Caribbean-influenced flavors. A committed small business community member, Fat Ronnie’s Burger Bar offers discounts to first responders and local employees from Nike, Lululemon, Trader Joe’s and more.
For more information, visit their website at www.fatronniesburgerbar.com