MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – Miami Beach’s Lincoln Road is an oasis of shops, restaurants and a great spot to spend the afternoon people watching.
It’s not so great, however, for some of the small ‘mom & pop’ stores who say they are being pushed out to make way for national chains.
For almost two decades, David’s Café II has been a staple of the famous street, serving cafecitos and Cuban cuisine. But Monday they poured their last café Cubano and closed their doors for good.
“I’m sad, we’ve had 19 years here of unbelievable memories,” lamented David’s Cafe owner Adrian Gonzalez.
Gonzalez said the rent simply became too high to keep the doors open. Gonzalez says local places like his can’t afford the same higher rents as the corporate chains on Lincoln Road.
Customers aren’t sure where they will go for their staple breakfasts and cafecitos on Lincoln Road.
David’s offered more than just tasty food to them.
“We come drink coffee here in the morning and the afternoon, whenever I have a chance,” regular customer Eddie del Busto told CBS4′s Natalia Zea. “It’s a gathering where friends meet.”
Michael Jackson, Bette Middler, Fat Joe, JLO, Ben Affleck, Paulina Rubio and dozens of other celebrities and political heavyweights have all eaten at David’s.
Brittany Gartner is a South Florida native now living in Los Angeles. Every time she’s in town she stops at David’s.
“I woke up and said I gotta go to David’s Cafe. I think it’s like a landmark, it’s always been here,” said Gartner.
David’s owner understands, but said there was just not a lot they could do.
“The rent got absolutely ridiculous so for our business platform, we can’t do it. For our family style restaurant, we can’t survive at the rate they wanted,” Gonzalez told Zea.
Gonzalez said the closing of the restaurant will mean at least 50 employees will be laid off. The other 20 will work at his family’s other restaurant.
Longtime manager Jesus Fernandez doesn’t know if he’ll be one of them.
He told Zea he will always miss the restaurant, because he’s been there so many years. He also says he will miss the camaraderie he has with the other employees and the customers. Customers like del Busto feel the same way.
“It’s sad man. Sad that a place like this that’s been open so long is gonna close down.”
While the Lincoln Road location will be closed for good, the original David’s Café on 11th and Collins Avenue will remain open. That restaurant’s been open for three and a half decades. Owners, employees and customers hope it lasts.