Burger King adds beer to its menu

Move over, South Beach burger joints. The King is coming. And he's got beer.

Burger King announced plans Friday to open its first South Florida Whopper Bar — a boutique version of the Miami-based fast food chain that hawks exotic recipes of its signature sandwich. The second of its kind in the country, and the first to serve up ice-cold beer, the 24-hour Whopper Bar South Beach has been in the works for several months and is set to open in February at Washington Avenue and 11th street.

Burger King touts the venue as a unique hometown location on high-profile real estate, and BK is adding SoBe flavor to the new locale: Delivery men on scooters will fetch your whopper to your condo (call 531-FIRE), and beer will be sold until 5 a.m.

"It's in our backyard," said Jonathan Muhtar, senior director of new concept development for Burger King. "We love the idea of having a marquis, flagship location for us in Miami that we can share with the community we grew up in."

Analysts say Burger King's new venture is part of a recession-friendly recipe. Customers are splurging on small luxuries like a gourmet burger but are less likely to fork over big bucks for a five-star meal, and the industry has noticed.

"People aren't spending as much money," said Richard Lackey, a Palm Beach Gardens-based restaurant broker and consultant. "Where today they'll be at Morton's Steakhouse, tomorrow they'll be at a Friday's or a gourmet burger bar."


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