Shula’s Steak House celebrates 30 years of fine dining, sports history

Friday, November 15, 2019 0 Comments

Shula’s Steak House celebrates 30 years of fine dining, sports history

  In the late 1980s, legendary NFL coach Don Shula posed for photographers while standing next to a Graham Angus bull at the golf course in Miami Lakes.

    Shula was also appearing with members of the Graham family to announce that the resort facilities would be called Don Shula’s Hotel & Golf Club.

    Thirty years later, Shula’s namesake steakhouse in Miami Lakes -- the first in a chain of 27 dining spots in seven states -- is celebrating its anniversary with a special prix fixe menu.

    At the time the partnership between the Grahams and Shula was announced and while he coached the Miami Dolphins, Shula lived in a house on the golf course’s 16th hole.

    He was a longtime friend of the Graham family, which developed the town from the pastures of their dairy farm.  

    David Younts, a Graham family member, came up with the idea to name the company’s hospitality division after Shula.

    The coach was initially resistant to the idea but eventually came around to it.

    In Miami Lakes, there are two restaurants, a hotel, spa and athletic club bearing the name of Shula.

    The 89-year-old remains the winningest coach in NFL history and the only one to achieve a perfect season -- the 17-0 mark posted by his 1972 Miami Dolphins.

    The Miami Lakes steakhouse that celebrates him is a destination for travelers to South Florida.

    “We have people from all over the country who come to visit and see the history of the Miami Dolphins,” said Alicia Bloom, business development manager for the original Shula’s Steak House and Shula’s Steak 2.

    The night before every home game, Shula would lodge his players in his “backyard,” at the one of the two hotels.  

    He could keep an eye on the athletes and ensure their minds were ready to compete.

    That strategy must have worked: the coach led teams to two Super Bowl wins.

    The walls of the Miami Lakes steakhouse are filled with photographs of players who were on the Dolphins’ perfect season team and also display highlights of Shula’s career that includes 347 wins over 33 years.

     A corner of the bar is devoted to late Dolphins tight end Jim “Mad Dog” Mandich, a Miami Lakes resident who died from cancer at age 62 in 2011.

    Local celebrities -- including a disco funk hitmaker who lives in town -- have dined there, as have visiting NFL players and managers when they play at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Bloom said. 

    When Randy and Harlan Selesnick and their two young daughters sought shelter after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, they drove from their then-unlivable home in Pinecrest to Miami Lakes.

    They found a single room to share at Shula’s Hotel on Main Street, where they stayed for a couple of months as their house was being repaired.
    The family ate almost all of their meals at Shula’s Steak House.

    “We really had nowhere else to go,” Randy Selesnick said. “They were so nice to us, and so accommodating.”

    Harlan Selesnick is an orthopedic surgeon and team doctor for the Miami Heat.

    The couple has traveled the world with the team and have enjoyed many fine steakhouses.

    “Harlan is a real steak connoisseur,” Randy Selesnick said.

    Yet they continue to drive from Pinecrest to the Miami Lakes steakhouse, where they have dined so often there is a brass name plate for their table.

    “We think it’s one of the best steaks,” she said. “We love the atmosphere. We love the service.”

    And they also enjoy its ties to sports history.

    “I think for Harlan, it’s exciting for him because he remembers the undefeated season and he’s met Coach Shula,” Randy Selesnick said.      
    Also in the brass name plate club: Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina, who lives in town.

    “Shula’s, well first, it’s really Miami Lakes,” Colina said. “You have the cows, the Grahams and Shula’s. As far back as I can remember, [the restaurant] has just been a part of Miami Lakes.”

    He also raved about the care that he and his wife Sandra Colina and their relatives receive from the staff.

    “Everyone welcomes you and you feel like you’ve gone to your family’s to eat,” Colina said.

    “And lastly the food is tremendous,” he said. “The bisque, the steak, the desserts, the whole experience is fantastic for us. And that’s why we go so often.”

    Though the atmosphere is elegant, customers can relax.

    “If we’ve had a hard day, we like to go and be pampered a little bit,” Colina said. “And it’s because of the service. It’s nice and almost like a little getaway that we get to do often.”

    In September, the Colinas took music superstars and restaurant owners Gloria and Emilio Estefan to Miami Lakes because they had never been to the original Shula’s Steak House.

    “They absolutely loved it,” Colina said.
 
IF YOU GO
Shula’s Steak House
7601 Miami Lakes Drive
Miami Lakes.
A $59 prix fixe menu is being offered through the month of November.
Choices include a kale salad, tuna tartare and a BBQ Wagyu short rib entrée. Other main plates are a crispy half chicken or a stuffed Maine lobster.
Tried and true dishes such as the wedge salad, a six-ounce black angus filet mignon, and macaroni and cheese with truffles, lobster or crab will be familiar to the restaurant’s regulars.
For more info: call 305-820-8102 or go to https://www.shulas.com
shulas-steak-house/miami-lakes.

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