If you've ever entertained someone visiting Miami Beach, chances are you've been to Mango's Tropical Cafe -- the ultra-cheesy, neon-colored nightclub where girls in fishnets and leopard-print costumes shake their butts for tourists sipping on piña coladas and mojitos in souvenir hurricane glasses.
Long before the Charro wannabes started shakin' it for SoBe tourism, Mango's Tropical Cafe started out as adult living community Eastern Sun in the '70s by then-and-still owner David Wallack.
Back then, Ocean Drive was lined with retirement hotels and adult residences, having long lost the luster of her Art Deco heyday. Eastern Sun was an improvement on the usual run-down retirement home, providing residents with cheery Deco colors, outings to Hialeah Racetrack and holistic care.
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In the 1980s Wallack started the Ocean Drive Property Owners Association and helped improve Lummus Park, build Ocean Drive's winding beach wall and assist in Barbara Capitman's efforts to save the Art Deco structures. Ocean Drive's reincarnation was starting.
In 1990, Wallack moved Eastern Sun's residents to an updated facility and set upon turning the venue into a nightclub. There wasn't much on Ocean Drive yet, and people flocked to the Latin and Reggae-vibed Mango's, as they still do today.
Last evening, Moet and mojitos flowed as 500 invited guests dined on lobster, drank heartily and enjoyed the entertainment - a cross between Desi Arnaz's Club Babalu and a Las Vegas revue.