David’s Café, an iconic South Beach haunt for locals and tourists alike, closed its doors for good this weekend.
Located the corner of 11th Street and Collins Avenue, David’s was flanked road construction that has dragged on for almost a year. The project has blocked sidewalks and increased gridlock. Adrian Gonzalez, owner, blamed the construction and the recession for sealing the café’s fate.
With 37 years under its belt, though, the café’s last day felt like any other. The wait staff, many of whom count their time at David’s in decades instead of years, snapped pictures with patrons while serving their last plates of food.
As always, customers nursed cups of cafecito and munched on Cuban sandwiches. They talked around tables inlaid with old Cuban money and postcards -- an homage to the cafe’s ancestry.
Gonzalez’s father, a Cuban immigrant, opened the cafe back in 1977.
“I’m 40 years old so it’s 37 years of my life,” Gonzalez sighed. "[David's] means everything that I’m all about, everything I stand for, everything I believe in, everything I have ever known for the most part.”
Madeline Gonzales — no relation to the owners — was one of the café’s younger patrons. Both she and her father Jorge Gonzales recalled times when David’s played the role of home.
“I come here most every Sunday for breakfast and we’ve had my birthday here several times,” Madeline said, adding that it makes her “really sad that they’re closing.”
“You knew that you came here and no matter what day or no matter what was happening, you would find friends,” her father said.
There has been some talk of the cafe relocating. But for now, Adrian Gonzalez he says he’s just happy to have the last colada.