With NFL Hall of Fame Coach Don Shula and family welcoming guests, press and television cameras at the door, Miami- Dade’s first Shula Burger officially opened on Jan. 15 at Kendall’s Market Square Shopping Center.
Joining Shula were his wife, Mary Anne, and son, David, both of whom assist in directing the newest restaurant group bearing the former Dolphin coach’s name that has become a legend following a 33-year National Football League career.
“Our Shula Burgers are planned with an informal, family atmosphere,” Mrs. Shula explained, noting the 800-square-foot outdoor covered patio adjoining the interior that quickly became crowded with visiting press and VIPs between 5 and 7 p.m.
As one interviewer recounted Shula’s three all-time NFL records (347 wins in 526 games including six Super Bowl appearances), Coach Shula cracked a broad grin: “Just a minute, Mary Anne, I want you to listen to these numbers,” he laughed. “I’m going to hold onto each one of those records, too,” he told the reporter.
Meanwhile, Black Angus beef burgers and sliders sizzled on the kitchen grills as part of the opening day festivities that included a display of a Miami Dolphin football helmet signed by the undefeated 1972 team to be raffled with proceeds for “Feeding South Florida,” a non-profit program for food purchases by people in need.
In addition to “always fresh, never frozen” Shula Burgers, the restaurants feature fresh salads, steak sandwiches and sea salt fries accompanied by a choice of beverages including a glass of wine or a unique imported beer.
The 170,000-square-foot Market Square now nearing complete lease-out is located between Florida’s Turnpike and SW 117th Avenue at 104th Street, described as the center of a 150,000 population demographic.
The Shula name has forged an international reputation in the restaurant business with six separate enterprises that include the Shula Steak House chain, Shula’s 2, Shula’s Bar & Grill, Shula’s on the Beach, and Shula’s 347 Grille. Corporate headquarters are located in Fort Lauderdale.
BY RICHARD YEAGER