Daniel Serfer, a Miami native, opened his first restaurant, Blue Collar, in January 2012. Frequented by locals and visitors alike, Blue Collar offers American comfort food in a casual setting attached to a hooker motel.
Serfer didn’t always aspire to opening a restaurant in a hooker motel. After achieving legendary debate champion status in high school, Serfer aspired to become a lawyer. While studying for the LSAT in 2004, he realized his real inspiration came from cooking and not the law. Serfer was then accepted into culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Miramar, Florida and, upon enrolling, Serfer took a job at the James Beard award-winning Chef Allen’s in Aventura, Florida.
Serfer rose from stagé to Chef De Cuisine at Chef Allen’s over the course of five years working with Allen Susser. Serfer then decided it was time for a new challenge, this time as Executive Chef at The 15th Street Fisheries & Dockside Café in Fort Lauderdale. During his time there, Serfer revamped the entire restaurant, creating a more modern and approachable menu and increasing sales by 30%.
After a stint in New York City, Serfer opened Blue Collar in January 2012. During a vacation to Miami to visit family in 2011, Serfer found an available restaurant space along Biscayne Boulevard attached to one of the historic motels that line the main thoroughfare. Armed with a concept for delivering the kind of food that he loved to eat, Serfer packed his bags and moved back home. For the past two years, Blue Collar has delivered contemporary comfort food in a laid back environment that feels like home. The menu is fun and approachable while remaining diverse enough to please every diner, from carnivore to vegetarian.
In April 2014, Serfer announced the opening of his second restaurant, an oyster bar called Mignonette. Drawing on the success of Blue Collar, Mignonette provides an approachable, fun environment where patrons can enjoy a dozen oysters, a bottle of champagne, classic seafood preparations like Oysters Rockefeller and Clams Casino, and a kickass prime rib. Once again driven to create the kind of restaurant he enjoys, Serfer is excited to bring a unique oyster bar experience to the guests who have made Blue Collar so popular. This new spot isn’t attached to a hooker motel, but since oysters are an aphrodisiac, you may end up back at the motel when all is said and done.
Following the adage that the pen is mightier than the sword, Ryan Roman cuts all of his steaks with a pen. A Miami native, Roman began writing about food and restaurants in 2009, with the launch of his blog, Miami’s Restaurant Power Rankings. Roman also contributes as a columnist for Edible South Florida. When he is not writing about food, he is a practicing attorney with the law firm Akerman LLP.
Roman first met chef Daniel Serfer after becoming a regular at Blue Collar, but perhaps the more compelling story is when the two didn’t meet. Unbeknownst to Roman, Serfer would read Roman’s blog while laboring away in a kitchen in New York City, during a short absence from the Miami culinary scene. Operating under the misimpression that the namesake “power rankings” on the blog were the result of some scientific algorithm, as opposed to one person’s arbitrary opinion, Serfer dreamed of opening his own restaurant back in Miami and achieving a spot on the rankings. When Blue Collar opened, Serfer invited Roman to a media preview, having pushed his public relations company to free up one extra seat. The stars were aligned for the two to meet and for their friendship to begin.
Roman declined the invitation. Unaware of the backstory that Serfer had created in his head, and generally preferring to avoid what he perceived as freebie meals, Roman saw the invitation as just another piece of PR material for the circular filing cabinet.
But unlike Sharknado, this story has a happy ending. Roman discovered Blue Collar in due time, falling for its emphasis on comfort food, its homey vibe, and its friendly staff.
After developing a friendship during which time Roman served as best man at Serfer’s wedding and godfather to Serfer’s firstborn child (who is affectionately referred to as Steak), and during which time Roman’s fear of commitment made it impossible for him to return such favors to Serfer, the two conspired to open Mignonette.
Mignonette is an oyster bar with an approachable, fun environment where patrons can enjoy a dozen oysters, a bottle of champagne, classic seafood preparations like Oysters Rockefeller and Clams Casino, and a kickass prime rib. Sharing the same DNA as Blue Collar, Mignonette is casual yet classy. Plain and fancy, as we like to say.
Chef De Cuisine
When Daniel Serfer set out to find a chef de cuisine for his and Ryan Roman’s new lovechild, Mignonette, Serfer was fully aware the search wouldn’t take him far. For in his own backyard (Blue Collar’s kitchen, if you will) was Bobby Frank – Serfer’s protégé and Mignonette’s new chef de cuisine.
With over 10 years’ worth of industry experience under his apron, Frank has seen his fair share of kitchens. He began his career in 2002, at the young age of 15, humbly bussing tables at Lake Seminole Square retirement home in Largo, FL. In five years he worked his way from the front of the house to the back of the house, eventually finding himself in the kitchen where he realized he belonged.
Frank studied at Johnson & Wales University in North Miami, FL and earned an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor’s in Food Service Management. While still in school, Frank worked up the ladder at Emeril’s at the Loews Hotel on Miami Beach. Under the leadership of Emeril Lagasse, Frank went from garde manger to lead grill cook in just six months.
After graduating in 2010, Frank was offered the opportunity as sous chef at Norman’s at the Grand Lakes Ritz-Carlton in Orlando. Realizing that Orlando was no Miami, he hauled his U-Haul back to the 305 and transferred to Norman’s 180 in Coral Gables, all the while maintaining his role as sous chef.
Before meeting Serfer and becoming his executive sous chef in 2013, Frank had never heard of Blue Collar; during this time, he admitted to living under a rock called Kendall. Frank drove past Blue Collar five times before realizing the restaurant he was interviewing at was, in fact, adjacent to a Biscayne Boulevard hooker hut. “This looks promising,” he sassed to himself before walking through the door.
Serfer saw a little (read: a lot) of Young Danny inside of Frank. After strongly critiquing Frank’s experience, the two quickly formed a bond. It’s similar to a bromantic relationship, as the two text and call each other at odd hours of the night – probably unbeknownst to Serfer’s betrothed Roman.
As the chef de cuisine at Mignonette, Frank – whom Serfer affectionately calls Grey Bush (for Frank’s distinctive salt-and-pepper locks) and Bobby Bottle Service (watch this for reference) – now sets his sights on the conquest of shucking oysters and schmoozing with guests alongside his Jedi master chef and número uno, Daniel “Papa Bear” Serfer.
Steak 'N Bake
Henry "Steak" Serfer and Bacon the Pug are the official mascots of Mignonette and are affectionately known as Steak 'N Bake.