When Oprah’s bestie Gayle King and GQ magazine declared Hollywood’s Le Tub’s hamburger the Best in America a few years back, it catapulted the local favorite to international star status. Now, South Florida restaurant veterans Dan and Lise-Anne Serafini, are working to bring the divey eatery at 1100 North Ocean Drive, which has been around since 1975, up to high-quality standards.
The Serafinis, who own GG’s Waterfront and TikiTiki, their son Alex, and their partner Spiro Kommatas, quietly took ownership of Le Tub at the end of last year. Dan and Lise-Anne Serafini originally hail from Canada, but have lived in South Florida and worked in the restaurant business for over 40 years (they met as teenagers while working together in a restaurant!). Alex is a restaurant professional who trained with Danny Meyer in New York, and Kommatas is the long-time General Manager of GG’s Waterfront. The team set about making subtle but important changes to Le Tub, maintaining the famous look and character while upgrading the space and the systems to reflect their painstaking “We Care” approach to hospitality and cleanliness standards.
“Le Tub is a beloved institution,” said Dan Serafini, who for several years has been president of the Hollywood Beach Business Association. “Our goal moving ahead is to make sure Le Tub lives up to and exceeds its celebrity hype.”
Le Tub was originally a Sunoco gas station, which morphed into the beloved local bar and grill and developed its quirky name and decor based on the hundreds of artifacts decorating it, mostly donated by satisfied customers and regulars over the years.
“We know that some of Le Tub’s regulars are concerned that they might lose the things that are cherished, like the overall look, fantastic history and unique vibe,” said Alex Serafini. “We won’t tamper with the décor or the underlying concept, which we love as well."
Some of the improvements are already in place -- most notably a massive cleanup and the new, friendly attitude of the staff (in a place where rudeness was the norm). The tiny kitchen has been expanded with the goal of speeding up the well-known long waits for food and service.
Bathrooms have been updated, the seawall is being replaced, back support has been added to benches, and shade to outdoor tables. Ordering technology has been added to streamline the processes, and a gardener is pruning the property, “not to destroy the random nature of the façade, but to make it look less like an abandoned lot,” added Dan Serafini.
The new owners will be bringing back some old favorites found on the original menu, such as items from a raw bar and shrimp cocktails, while of course continuing to offer the giant 13-ounce burger that brought Le Tub so much fame, now known as “The Original” ($14.50).
New menu items in the making include a host of craft cocktails ($12 - $19), local brews and wines (from $4.25), and a variety of food and drink specials. Among the other long-time favorites are the seafood salad ($25), hot dogs ($7), thick cut steak fries ($5.50 - $8), and home-made key lime pie ($8).
“We’re getting back to basics in order to create a wonderful place for locals and families,” Lise-Anne Serafini explained. “That means attention to detail and service, building teamwork with our ‘We Care’ ethos and staff development, and making our guests and community feel truly welcome at Le Tub.”
The Serafini family entered the world of Hollywood eateries when they purchased GG's in 2010. The city’s redevelopment projects, new investment, and streetscape improvements bringing new business and visitors to Hollywood makes this the perfect time to expand their footprint at the beach, noted Lise-Anne Serafini.
“Hollywood’s been really good to us,” she said. “It has accepted and supported us, and it’s got a great history that we were able to embrace and are working to enhance.”
Le Tub is open daily from 11 am to 1 am, with parking available in the private lot for $2. For more information, call 954-921-9425 or visit www.Le-Tub.com.