Chug's - A Coconut Grove Institution
October 18, 2023
First introduced in 2019 as an idiosyncratic pop-up, Chef/Owner Michael Beltran’s Chug’s Diner quickly became a Coconut Grove institution when it turned into a permanent brick-and-mortar restaurant in 2021. Beyond its rep as a bustling lunch spot, Chug’s Diner rose to a thing of legend by virtue of Beltran’s wildly-popular breakfast sandwich, cast iron pancake and hearty dinnertime fare.
Just in time for fall and amid Hispanic Heritage Month, Beltran – the proudly Cuban-American talent behind Ariete Hospitality Group – has unveiled an extensive new menu and beverage list for the restaurant, which the Miami New Times recently lauded as one of Miami’s “Top 100 Restaurants.” Combined with the fact that the restaurant recently retained its Bib Gourmand from the hallowed Michelin Guide, there’s ample reason to visit Chug’s Diner.
“I couldn’t be happier about how the city has embraced Chug’s and made it an all-day spot whether it’s for a meal, a cafecito and pastelito or a quick drink after work. The hope was that it would be the kind of place that locals could make their own. I hope the regulars enjoy the new menu items and the new folks give us a try.”
To kick things off, what else but Breakfast? Naturally, favorites remain, including Beltran’s Bacon, the Breakfast Sandwich and Cast Iron Pancake. But new additions now demanding the spotlight include Phyllis’ Broccoli Breakfast Hash – Crispy Potato, Broccoli, Cheese Sauce Ritz Cracker Crumble, Red onion, Parmesan, and Sunny Side Up Eggs; “The Springsteen” – House-Made Scrapple, Sharp American Cheese, and Sunny Side Egg on a Kaiser Roll; Smoked Salmon Platter – Latkes, Cumin-Lime Crema, Mojo Pickled Onions and Tomatoes; and on the sweeter side, Arroz Con Leche Blintz with Seasonal Fruit, among others. As a proper diner should, Chug’s breakfast is served all day.
Brand new is a Snacks section, perfect as an appetizer or a midday pick-me-up. Standouts include House-Made Biscuits served with Apple Butter and Mojo Butter; Duck Croquetas with Orange Mustard, Pickled Onions and Crackers; Chicharron with Tamarind Mojo, Charred Green Beans and Herbs; and Maduros & Hush Puppies served with Cumin Lime Crema, Oli’s Pickles and Mojo Onions. Of course, Handhelds are held in great esteem. New offerings include The Diner Burger topped with Caramelized Onion, Mustard Aioli and Cooper Sharp American Cheese and a Pan Con Lechon with Pickled Mojo Onions, Tomato and Papitas. Those bemoaning the loss of the famous Chug Burger fear not; though it no longer resides permanently on the menu, every Thursday night the restaurant makes and sells this to-die-for carnivorous delight but supplies are limited and reserving a burger is not frowned upon. New Entrees include Plantain-Crusted Snapper with Arugula and Green Bean Salad, Cachucha Aioli and Mojo Onions; and Sazón Completa-Crusted Tuna with Charred Green Beans, Tomato, Malta Eel Sauce and Hard-Boiled Egg. Also new, a ton of Sides ranging from Crispy Broccoli and Waxman Potatoes (in honor of Chef Jonathan Waxman) and Maduros, among others.
Pastries are not to be missed here, whether it’s one of Chug’s Masterful Milkshakes (Guava and Mamey Batido with Maria Cookies, anyone?), a Pastelito by Miami’s own “Pastelito Papi” – aka Chef Gio Fesser, a longtime Beltran collaborator and HG Team Member; and BK Pie – Manjari Ganache, Caramelia Mousse, Whipped Crème Fraiche and House-Made “Dirt,” among others.
From plates to glasses we go with many new drinks with three distinct vibes, each nodding to Chug’s dedication to all-day enjoyment. Rise & Shine-styled solutions to the morning blues include the Miami Mimosa with Mango, Pineapple, and Orange Juice; Banana Carajillo – Banana, Rum, Cacao, Café Cubano; and a Bloody Maria – Mezcal, Spicy Bloody Mary Mix, Lemon and Sazón Completa. Afternoon Delights include a Guava Gimlet; Guarapo Daiquiri and Whiskey & Coco – Whiskey, Coconut Water, Coconut Soda and Lemon. For sunset and beyond, Stiff & Stirred is the ticket with two killer pours: the Flan Old Fashioned with aged Rum, Flan Almíbar (translation: Syrup) and Orange Bitters; and the F.I.G. – Fig and Guava Infused Bourbon, Campari and Sweet Vermouth. There is a full bar for traditionalists, an array of Non-Alcoholic Drinks including Cuban-American staples such as Jupina, Materva and Iron Beer, and not to mention a collection of Coffees.
Happy Hour is a thing at Chug’s and along with the new menu items and drinks, there is a revitalized Happy Hour Program. Every Thursday from 3:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., Friday through Sunday from 5:00 p.m. to close, guests can enjoy $9 House Cocktails, a selection of $9 Wines by the glass and $5 Monopolio Beers. To eat, Chuggies Meals – think adult Happy Meals – that come with Fries and a Cookie and include the Lil Tone Chuggy – Shaved Iceberg, Chug Sauce and Pickles; Frita Chuggy – House Frita Patty, Mojo Ketchup and Papitas; and Doggie Chuggy – Frita Chili, Queso and Papitas. Plus, with any food purchase between 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., diners can enjoy a $.99 Martini. On top of all this, there’s a great grouping of Grab & Go options for those needing a bite or a Coffee Toot Sweet.
Chug’s, located in the heart of Coconut Grove at 3444 Main Highway, Suite#: 21, Miami, Florida 33133, is open seven days a week. Hours of operation are as follows: Monday to Wednesday, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; Thursday to Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Sunday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Abundant Municipal, Lot and Metered Parking is available. For more information, visit: www.chugsdiner.com - Telephone: (786) 353-2940. Follow on Instagram: @chugsdiner.