David Einhorn, the owner of Papi Steak, is gearing up for a busy Miami Art Week. In addition to hosting an annual philanthropic dinner that benefits Style Saves on December 1 at his restaurant, he’s plotting which fairs and parties he’ll attend. After all, Einhorn—who was raised in a strict Jewish community in Brooklyn before moving to Manhattan, and later Miami—has been passionate about art and community for decades.
In his New York days, he was known to socially curate parties at Avant Gallery and host elevated dinners at his home in SoHo for affluent names like Leonardo DiCaprio and Kim Kardashian. It was there, through casual conversations and over delectable dishes, that he fell in love with entertaining—and notably cooking. “I became the grill-master,” he told Whitewaller. “That’s actually where I grilled my first Tomahawk steak.”
Fast-forward a few years, and after first connecting on Snapchat over a passion for grilling, Einhorn met the Miami hospitality entrepreneur David Grutman of Groot Hospitality at his nightclubs LIV and Story. Soon after, Einhorn was invited to cook at Grutman’s Miami house during Art Week, and the reaction to his kosher-cut steak with secret sauce earned the dish a spot at Komodo—Groot Hospitality’s Brickell restaurant. It became an instant bestseller. So in 2018, when Grutman aimed to add another restaurant to its portfolio in the South of Fifth neighborhood, he immediately asked Einhorn to partner in opening Papi Steak. The title references Einhorn’s nickname given to him by the artist Alec Monopoly—a friend whose work Einhorn personally collects and has on display at Papi Steak, alongside Terry O’Neill photography prints from Frank Oz’s film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
Today, the restaurant boasts a reputation that’s part dinner and part party. Its sensual atmosphere envelops guests in bespoke floral wallpaper created by Candice Kaye and crushed red velvet banquettes, enlivened by attentive service, premium food offerings, and creative cocktails. For guests looking for a lavish experience, Papi Steak also offers a selection of exclusive items, like the Beef Case—a tableside celebration of a 55-ounce kosher bone-in Australian Wagyu steak that arrives atop ice in a gold, bedazzled “Papi Steak” briefcase inspired by Marsellus Wallace’s in Pulp Fiction. With music blaring, servers chanting, and lights dancing across the table, a Papi Steak branding iron sears the meat before it is whisked back to the kitchen to be perfectly grilled and served. Whitewaller caught up with Einhorn to hear how Papi Steak creates unforgettable moments unlike other traditional steakhouses and what he’s working on next.
WHITEWALLER: How would you describe the vibe of Papi Steak?
DAVID EINHORN: We take the proven elements of a traditional steakhouse but maximize them. We go big. We give it that Miami polish, that Miami magic. We’re not trying to copy the norm. We’re adding sound, color, pyrotechnics, the whole thing. It works because people recognize the blueprint of a steakhouse—the meat, the wine, the bar, the intimacy–but we amplify it times 100.
WW: Menu items like the Beef Case offer more than a meal—they offer an experience. Of what importance is creating an experience at Papi Steak, rather than just a place to eat?
DE: It’s hugely important. It’s part of the Groot Hospitality M.O.—great food, great drinks, great times. We want to deliver a quality experience on the plate, as well as with the atmosphere. And there’s not a more amazing atmosphere than Papi Steak’s. I know I am biased, but it’s true.
WW: What’s the perfect order at Papi Steak?
DE: Start with the Hamachi or the Wagyu Pastrami. Then, of course, the Papi Steak itself, which is a Glatt Kosher 32-ounce Tomahawk. We serve it medium.
WW: What are you looking forward to about 2023?
DE: Introducing even more spectacular experiences at Papi Steak—not just here in Miami but other major cities, too. I get inspired every summer after trips to Europe. Get ready!