In another intersection of my two favorite topics—cities and food—I’m sad to report that David’s Café at Meridian Avenue and Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, has closed.
In 1993 when they opened, Lincoln Road had not become a chain retail outpost, but was still a funky an appealing mix of independent boutiques, art studios, cool salons, and restaurants. From season to season, you never knew what you’d find.
Owner, Adrien Gonzalez said he is going to miss this restaurant’s location. “It’s kind of sad because unfortunately, that’s kind of what happens. We came here when it was desolate, there was nothing going on here. Now, it’s thriving, and it was like a ticking time bomb and eventually pushed us out. Unfortunately, these areas die out, and it becomes a big national area for big national chains,” he said.
Without pretension at the lunch counter and in the dining room, David’s served generous plates of ropa vieja, pan con lechon, churros, and media noches. But what set David’s apart was the ventanita—the sidewalk facing coffee window that was a perfect urban space. All paths crossed at the ventanita for a Thornton Wilder-esque view of this layered city. Cops and Bentley drivers took their privilege and parked along the yellow curb. Mere mortals strolled up for their cafecito or colada.
Conversation included advice on where to get your Rolex fixed, questions about camera lenses, compliments on sky-high sandals, and varied views of big ink. And we all felt superior to the Starbucks sheep across the street.
But capitalism’s creative destruction has devalued David’s unquantifiable value in favor of higher rent and another lingerie/bathing suit/souvenir store. Chains offer long term leases and the comfort of a familiar sure thing for consumers and landlords. But with them, Lincoln Road–an extraordinarily appealing physical environment–becomes a bit less interesting, too much like the local mall rather than an exotic and sophisticated getaway. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be the lively place it is if previous places hadn’t been displaced.
as always, the great pictures are from George