With the opening of the new Butcher Block, Durbanites are certainly spoilt for choice in the popular Florida Road ‘strip’, an area that needs no introduction as one of Durban’s most popular entertainment hubs and part of a culinary destination. The prestigious new steakhouse, Butcher Block Florida Road, promises to enhance dining choices and as their slogan says, be ‘A Cut above the Rest’.
The Butcher Block brand however is not new… the story started when a group of butchers initiated the Butcher Block concept in 2003 and as we know butchers are generally not businessmen, and 14 stores later, they had to shut down with one remaining store in Pinetown.
Manuel Savic, an entrepreneur, saw the need for a quality “steak house” and having acquired the intellectual property rights of Butcher Block, he relaunched Butcher Block. Manuel and Robynne Savic set up Butcher Block in Umhlanga Rocks and later in Rosebank, both of which have been targeting a very niche upmarket profile of customers for the past 7 years. He had a strong desire to provide quality steaks and fine dining to the people of South Africa, and with the realisation that there were ‘no good steakhouses in Durban’ (his words), Manuel set out to change the tide and grow the group, and entered into a strategic partnership with well-known business man and entrepreneurial mogul, Jay Ramnundlall.
Jay, who shares the same vision as Manuel, saw growth of the Butcher Block brand with a number of restaurants now operational in Gauteng and two more in the commissioning stage (Hillcrest & Menlyn Park) and a number of others under final negotiation – including one international (Butcher Block Qatar). Butcher Block has grown into a well-known and highly respected steakhouse restaurant and an established franchised brand, with some of the restaurants independently owned by the franchisee. The secret to their success is their unwillingness to compromise on quality and service delivery.
This week invited guests and media were given an introduction to the Butcher Block brand and a taste of what their menu offers. The menu is designed to suit any palate with dishes which include shellfish, fish, lamb, and of course our famous steaks and chops with a flair, class and elegance. Sides and starches are added to create complete plate choices for diners at affordable prices. Robynne said “We guarantee only the finest quality, out of this world, and cooked to perfection, every time – for your enjoyment! If it is a table for two or even a private party venue, Butcher Block Florida Road is the place to be!”
With the red carpet walked, speeches done and the ribbon cut, it was time for the drinks to flow and the tasters to be served. The Victorian style building, dating back to 1901, was expanded to a second floor a decade later – the steel I-Beams date back to 1910 and one can only imagine that they were manufactured in Sheffield- England or similar and brought through to Durban before the First World War.
Together with the owner of building Wayne Stainforth, Butcher Block owners have taken great pride in preserving the buildings heritage and even enhancing some of the features – one can’t help but admire the steel beams, or the original brick walls, now devoid of there plaster covering. The decor is clean and modern, with an upmarket steakhouse feel. So good to see and old building lovingly restored and showing off its best.
The added feel good factor is that in addition to the R30 million plus in capital expenditure that the Butcher Block Group invested last year alone, it has created approximately 200 new jobs. Some of these being the welcoming smiles proudly serving their guests.
The Butcher Block Florida Road management team consists of following renowned people in the dining space:
Area Manager – Ruben Fink (promoted)
Restaurant Manager – Henry Dicks
Head Chefs – Henry Ngcobo and Welcome Mhlongo
Head Barman – Junior Bullbu
Duty Managers – Jade Fourie and Dawie Kruger
Note – most of the images are courtesy of Butcher Block Florida Road