Cacique's Corner is a Cuban coffee shop and cafeteria that has stood at SW First Avenue and Flagler Street under the same ownership in downtown Miami since 1987. When Selim Diaz and his family emigrated from the small town of Sasa del Medio, Las Villas, Cuba, in 1980, he was 7 years old, and his folks knew they wanted to start a business. Selim, who now owns and runs the shop, says, "We always looked for the opportunity, and at the time the area was not that expensive. It looked like it had a good potential for growth, and through the years that's exactly what it has done."
Cacique is a term derived from the Taíno language. The Caribbean island natives used it to describe chiefs, and Spanish conquistadors spread the term across the New World. "It means 'head Indian chief' -- like Geronimo would be in American history," Diaz says.
Cacique's Corner serves anywhere from about 200 to 500 cups of coffee a day, from con leches to coladas, through the windows, at the counter, and to tables inside, according to Diaz.
Anybody who has ever been to the Government Center Metrorail station is aware of the large homeless population that congregates in the public areas there. Selim says, "They've always been there. We need more police supervision and more effort to clean up the streets. More government aid should be used for funding this area. If more effort was put into downtown, I'm pretty sure it could be a better place. I'd like to see more incentives for people to come down here, and less parking fees. We see a lot of tickets get given."
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When asked how he thinks coffee brings people together Selim says, "The opportunity to share that little coffee break and get your mind out of the everyday routine and share with other people doing the same thing, it gives flavor to the culture. A lot of government employees are our everyday customers and as long as the government continues to stay here we're gonna continue to work together to make it a great place."
Cacique's Corner - Best Café Cubano 2000
100 West Flagler Street
Miami, FL 33130