By now, everyone in Broward County has heard the rumor: Hollywood's well-known and beloved Le Tub Saloon is closing.
The rumors have something to do with the impending Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort complex (1111 N. Ocean Drive, Hollywood) set to open later this year across the street off the beach boardwalk. Over the course of the past year, it's become a source of contention for neighboring businesses that are both weary of the construction and upheaval and excited for the influx of tourists and business the resort will bring to the area.
It's probably a scene Le Tub founding owner Russell Kohuth may have never imagined. He originally purchased the property in 1974 -- what was once a Sunoco gas station situated on the Intracoastal Waterway -- converting it into a waterside restaurant decorated with driftwood, toilets, tubs, sinks, and random nautical treasures. For many years after, it survived as a quaint and quirky locals' hangout where the ambiance was always relaxed and eccentric, perfect for the Hollywood crowd.
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Then, in February 2006, GQ food critic Allan Richman put Le Tub on his list of "20 burgers to eat before you die." What happened next was a guaranteed full parking lot on the weekends, transforming the locals' spot into one of South Florida's favorite waterfront restaurants.
Kohuth passed away in 2010, and in his will, he left Le Tub to five individuals, most of whom worked at the restaurant over the years, including current owner Steve Sidle. More than 30 years after its official opening, not much has changed.
Today, the property is no longer found solely by word of mouth; a Google search instantly brings up millions of results. And on any given day, just 30 minutes prior to opening, the parking lot is almost guaranteed to be packed and you're sure to be waiting for a seat.
So what's this rumor that Le Tub is closing? Apparently, it's just that: nothing but a rumor.
"I can guarantee you that we're not going anywhere," Le Tub general manager Steve Bucci said during a recent interview. "We don't know how these things get started, but that's exactly what it is, just a rumor."
A Le Tub employee who asked to remain anonymous confirmed that -- for close to a year now -- the restaurant has received multiple phone calls each day regarding the "closing rumor."
"We get phone calls each day asking us if it's true," she said. "But the restaurant is not closing."
Really, Le Tub has no reason to close. Business is booming, and the busiest days are still during the weekend, when she estimates that as many as 1,000 customers will pass through each day.
The only rumor that is true, however: that you'll wait an hour and a half for that burger. It's no surprise that the favorite menu item is still the 13-ounce sirloin burger Richman put on his "best" list, and it's still prepared the same way it was nearly 35 years ago.
Sidle has explained the secret to this burger is simple, the right balance of chuck with top-quality ground sirloin, combined with simple seasonings. The preground blend is delivered each morning, and the burger is seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder before it's densely packed into a mammoth patty with a thick mound in the middle. From there, it remains on the char-grill for a minimum of 20 minutes, under a thick cloud of smoke until it's cooked to the requested doneness.
So, whether you've been to Le Tub many times and already know the drill or have yet to sample the restaurant's infamous burger, rest assured you still have plenty of time to try it.
Sure, it may take awhile, but at least it's not going anywhere.
Nicole Danna is a food blogger covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.
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