In 1949, a restauranteur from New York, Gene Harvey, purchased an old frame house on Griffin Road in Denia, Florida, and opened a restaurant he named Tropical Acres.
Although it was out of the way at the time, the restaurant quickly grew a reputation for char-broiled steaks outside over an open-pit barbeque. The idea was so successful that Harvey renamed his restaurant back in New York “Tropical Acres”. For many years, it was the biggest restaurant in Westchester County, New York.
By 1958, Harvey and his uncle owned 4 restaurants/nightclubs in and around the greater Florida area. In 1964, a fire gutted the original restaurant on Griffin road. The idea of rebuilding from scratch was one that Harvey wasn’t sure he wanted to do. A cousin, Sam Stuidale, convinced Harvey that it wouldn’t be as big an undertaking as he imagined and later that same year, the original Griffin Road restaurant opened again, under the management of Stuidale.
During the 70s and 80s, all of the other restaurants were sold to other companies or families, other than the original, which remained with Studiale. His children and grandchildren now own and operate the business.
During the coronavirus crisis and quarantine that occurred in March 2020, restaurants everywhere in Florida were attempting to stay afloat by offering take out or delivery service, and Tropical Acres was no exception. The company had an idea, however, and they began to offer Tropical Acres butcher shop, where customers could buy the premium steaks raw in larger quantities and cook them at home.
In May 2020, with a meat shortage on the horizon, Studiale was grateful that the company had extremely large freezers that he hoped would see them through this crisis.
Tropical Acres Steakhouse remains on Griffin Road, where it has been for 71 years, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.