Lincoln Road is continuing its Stepford-like plunge into national chain-dom, with 14 Sunglass Huts, Guess?, the Gap, Vicky’s Secret, H&M, et. al. and possibly sooner than later another yet-to-be-named retail spot to take over one of the last remaining mom & pop shops on that road–David’s Cafe II. That’s right, the popular pick-me-up spot for Cuban coffee and fare is being kicked out because the landlord wants to take the space national.
“The rent they want is out of control,” owner Adrian Gonzalez told us. “We’re trying to work with them to see what we can do, but they want what they consider fair market value.” In other words, they want a national tenant. Gonzalez, whose family opened the Lincoln Road branch of its longtime Collins Ave. location back in 1993, laments that Lincoln Road “Is not favorable to mom and pop businesses.”
While David’s II isn’t 100% leaving, Gonzalez says it’s likely and that they are entertaining other options. Would David’s ever cross the causeway? “I know where to be if I want to pick up and go,” he says cryptically. “We’ve explored the idea of taking a smaller space.” They may also just “regroup down to” the original David’s, in biz for 35 years, on Collins Ave.
Gonzalez says the David’s gang loves Lincoln Road, but, sadly and obviously, it’s not what it used to be. “Look at Washington Avenue. It used to be the place to be. Everyone got greedy, squeezed out the mom and pop businesses and now you can’t give space away there. We came to Lincoln Road when it was a ghost town. We evolved with it. But when things are on top, they squeeze the little guys out. It’s heartbreaking because we put so much blood, sweat and tears into it. The hardest thing is to say that we’re leaving and closing but we’re preparing for the worst.”
If things don’t work out, David’s II pours its last Cafe Cubano on July 31. Stay tuned.