After Four Decades in Miami Beach, David's Cafe Is Closing

Time for one last cafecito.
Time for one last cafecito. Photo by Zachary Fagenson
click to enlarge Time for one last cafecito. - PHOTO BY ZACHARY FAGENSON
Time for one last cafecito.
Photo by Zachary Fagenson
Miami Beach has seen a lot of ups and downs. But though hurricanes and economic upticks and downturns, one thing was certain: David's Cafe, where you could get a cafecito at the ventanita, lunch at the counter, or even a fancy dinner at the restaurant's dining room.

Now, after 42 years, David's Cafe Cafecito will close after service today.

Owner Adrian Gonzalez posted the news on Facebook:

"It is with a heavy heart that I must deliver this message to you all and by far one of the hardest decisions we have had to make for our family business. My loving parents began writing this beautiful story back in 1977 in their pursuit of the American dream and after 42 years we have had a few chapters written, but unfortunately with this global Pandemic we tried to the best of our abilities to hang on. Sadly, this chapter has been written for us and we will be closing our doors. I want to let everyone know this is the end of our chapter here at David’s Café Cafecito, but the story is far from over. From the bottom of our hearts we want to thank all of our community for showing us so much love and support during the years and especially during these challenging times. We want to thank all our amazing staff for all their hard work."

Gonzalez invited one and all to the café at Ninth Street and Alton Road to "stop on by to say goodbye for now. Make sure to follow us on social media to see what is happening in the future."

In a phone conversation with New Times, Gonzalez says he made the decision after he realized he couldn't make the numbers work.

"We looked for some relief in the way of government grants. We did get PPP money — and that went to help pay our employees — but we were still a day late and a dollar short," he says. "It just didn't make sense to keep taking a gamble on the future when I'm convinced that we are not going to have any semblance of normalcy until at least February of next year. Keeping David's open would only make it worse for my family."

Gonzalez, who grew up at the café his parents, Alfredo and Maria Gonzalez, opened in 1977, says even before COVID-19, the face of Miami Beach was changing.

"I'm 46 years old. I spent 42 years in Miami Beach, and the city has to do something to preserve the mom-and-pop restaurants," he says. "They have to understand that one of the reasons we're internationally known is because our city is such a diverse melting pot. People love that."

Gonzalez says the most difficult part of deciding to close was calling his mother.

"The restaurant, to me, was a tribute and a legacy to my mother and father. They came from nothing and they built a name for themselves on Miami Beach. It killed me to call my mom. I'm a grown man and my heart broke. It beyond frustrates me that it had to come to this."

He says the buzz among his fellow small business owners on Alton Road isn't good.

"I know everything is frustrating. We're in the middle of a pandemic. We have to learn as we go, but I still feel that nobody is really doing anything to help small businesses."

So, after 42 years and various iterations, David's Cafe will serve its last cafecito tomorrow evening.

"I'm overwhelmed. I've tried everything. That's it. We're maxed out. I had to tell my seven-year-old son we were closing and it was horrible."

Still, Gonzalez is optimistic he can revive David's Cafe in the future.

"Eventually, it's going to get better," he says. "Miami will come back. And so will we. I'm open to anything, but it's gotta make sense."
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss