In Miami, restaurants open and close like high-speed revolving doors. We take it in stride. We shrug at the dimmed lights and then the renovation crew, and cock our heads and judge the newcomers for a solid eight seconds before we get bored. After all, whatever just moved in is going to close in nine months anyway. The exception to this principle is when someone messes with our local staples.
David's Cafe II has been Lincoln Road's darling for 19 years. A haven of plentiful croquetas and cortaditos tucked a few steps away from the chains and clubs of South Beach, the Gonzalez family restaurant is a local hub. It is a go-to meeting place for politicians, and a popular stop for the many stars and starlets who grace Miami Beach.
Now, due to the sky-high rent in the key location, David's Cafe II may soon leave Lincoln Road for good. That is, unless an arrangement over the space's rent can be reached, the David's Cafe family will be forced out by July 31. "It's heartbreaking over here," said owner Adrian Gonzalez. "There is no definitive answer yet, but we're preparing for the worst."
In its nearly two decades, David's Cafe has been part of a morphing of Lincoln Road into a glitzy tourist trap. "We came here in '93 when Lincoln was completely dead and pretty much a ghost town," said Gonzalez. "And now the price of the rent just doesn't fit our kind of restaurant, unless we start charging a fortune for our food."
Fortunately, the original David's Cafe's stronghold on Collins Avenue is not leaving any time soon. Unlike the Lincoln Road space, the building that houses the original hotspot is owned by the Gonzalezes, so thankfully does not run the risk of being turned into another glamorous parking structure as its sister now does.
The property owner wants to take a new direction with the Lincoln Road place, according to Gonzalez. Two ideas are to either add a second floor or possibly tear the whole thing down, the thought of the latter being terrifying enough to silence the chattiest Cubano cafe patrons.
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As they ready for bad news, the Gonzalezes have begun searching for new locations, but first want to reevaluate their holdings. "We're exploring our options," said Gonzalez. "We need to take a step back from the sadness and focus on our original location on Collins before we do anything else."
Meanwhile, we Miamians will be holding our breath as we wait to learn the fate of our beloved empanadas and pastelitos.