MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – Less than two years after closing its Lincoln Road location, David’s Cafe on Collins Avenue stopped brewing Cuban cafecito for good.
The South Beach staple closed its doors for the final time at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 20th.
“Today is bitter-sweet. I’ve spent 37 years of my life in this building just working with my family,” said owner David Gonzalez, whose parents opened the restaurant back in 1977. “A part of me is kind of disappearing but we’re excited for new things.”
The cafe hosted a goodbye party Sunday and served up its famous cortaditos, croquetas and cuban sandwiches as a thank you to loyal customers and employees.
“I want to give thanks to all the customers for so many years.. in good and bad times,” said Maria Gonzalez, owner of the cafe.
Long time customers say the landmark cafe will be missed.
“It’s full of history, it’s full of culture. Good people, good food and were really sorry to see it go,” said Neil Cohen, a customer.
The restaurant which opened 37 years ago served as an example of the American dream.
The owners came from Cuba and eventually set up shop on Miami Beach, sharing their country’s cuisine with locals and tourists alike.
David’s Lincoln Road location was shuttered almost two years ago, a victim of rising rents. Former employees protested back then, claiming they were owed 20 weeks of backpay. A lawsuit was filed and the Department of Labor launched an investigation.
At the Collins Avenue cafe, construction problems have plagued the restaurant and nearby businesses.
“Crushed us,” said Gonzalez. “Our customers run like scattered ants in different directions every time they start drilling the streets it’s a cluster, it’s a disaster.”
A check of the website for the Comras Company, which listed the property, revealed a flyer which shows the building is listed for sale at $11.5 million.
It’s not known exactly what will open on the property next, possibly a national retail store, but local Scott Betten said it’s a sign of the times.
“The beach is changing,” Betten explained. “I believe that’s what’s going on. This street as well as Lincoln Road, Ocean Drive. It’s changing.”