Venice

Fall 2015

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ALMOST FAMOUS Dynamic craft beer duo Julian and Lisa Siegel launch their latest venture: Riverside Market South. BY CHARLIE CRESPO PHOTOGRAPHY BY RYAN STONE 100 Venice Julian and Lisa Siegel are "beerfamous." The tongue-and-cheek term, which they now use frequently on their social media accounts, originated on a trip to the West Coast. The pair was riding San Francisco's BART rail system when they noticed a young man staring. He wondered aloud if he had seen them before. The Siegels shrugged and said they didn't think that their paths had ever crossed. Suddenly, the man exclaimed, "Yeah, Riverside Market. You guys are beerfamous!" "I told myself, 'I'm stealing that,'" Lisa, 38, says with a laugh. "That's going to be our hashtag." The man was referring to a certain type of celebrity that the Siegels possess in the ever-growing craft beer world. They get recognized by beer lovers, have relationships with some of the leading luminaries in the field—like Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery and Adam Fine of Native Brewing—and have seen their logo show up on a T-shirt and a sticker in a small store in Vermont or in a random Google street view. Although that industry-centric fame might be obvious now that the pair owns and runs two of South Florida's most beloved bars, Riverside Market and Riverside Market South, in addition to Craft Beer Cartel, Broward County's first homebrew supply store, it doesn't make it any less deserved. Without the influence of the Siegels, the local craft beer renaissance likely would have occurred much slower. That might be hard to imagine now with breweries like Funky Buddha, LauderAle and Barrel of Monks opening up left and right, but there was a time when South Florida was bereft of craft beer. During that period, the original Riverside Market, located in the historic Riverside Park neighborhood, offered something hard to find in a market flooded with Bud Lights: good beer. The Riverside honor system became a unique draw, too. Patrons were encouraged to grab a beer or two from the coolers, drink at their leisure, bring the empty bottles up to the cash register when they finished, and settle the tab before leaving. But it wasn't just the excellent selection of beer and a unique payment method that brought in locals; it was the eclectic nautical aesthetic as well. "Most of the decor are pieces from our house that Lisa made me 'get rid of,'" Julian, 48, says. "Since then, we've become a magnet for people who want to give us decorations, like a hammerhead shark with flames painted on it." These distinct and quirky features of the original Riverside Market made it not only an oasis in a craft beer desert, but a resounding success; it also was what first made the Siegels "beerfamous." As Riverside Market began to draw larger crowds, the Siegels realized that opening another location could be a possibility. "It's something we contemplated for a long time," Julian says. "We were looking everywhere—from A1A to Nob Hill to Stirling—but we could never find the right space." Then, suddenly, the right space came to them. "We're both believers that the universe brings you things when the time is right," Lisa explains. "Our friend called us and said that The Keg on Sixth had closed. The location fell in our lap." Near U.S. 1 and Port Everglades, The Keg on Sixth, a short-lived local bar and eatery, was a perfect fit; it already had all the necessary restaurant equipment in place to allow for a more robust menu, something the Siegels have always wanted but never had space for. That feature also helped the pair avoid what could have been a yearlong process to open; instead, they needed just a 45-day "Riversideification" remodel, as they put it. As you might expect, the Siegels didn't stray too far from what brought them their prominent status: Nautical flags hang on the walls, a 100-year-old canoe (donated by a local) sits in the rafters above the seating area, and a small couch and armchair are positioned in the space. And, just like the original location, locals pour in after work for the 28 drafts on tap or to grab one (or a few) of the 300 beers out of the 10 cooler doors. So, what's next for the craft beer power couple? "We have our eyes set on the 305," they say, looking to expand into their southern neighbor. "We're also planning on building a local brewery with Native Brewing." Hey, no one said being "beerfamous" was easy. v MARKETWATCH Pioneers in the local craft beer scene, Julian and Lisa Siegel opened the second location of Riverside Market north of the Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport.

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