Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dubrow's in Miami

I have found very few references to the Dubrow's Cafeteria in Miami, although I remember it vaguely, from my childhood. It was right on Lincoln Road, which is a stone's throw from where my grandparents lived for most of my childhood. I spent much of my childhood visiting from Texas, staying with my grandparents, and walking from their apartment all the way down Lincoln Road till I got to the beach. Back then, it was pretty dead - now it's become a hotspot with clubs and trendy restaurants.

I found this in the book Catskill Culture: A Mountain Rat's Memories of the Great Jewish Resort Area by Phil Brown:

"From all their years in the Catskills, these Mountain Rats were the insiders who really knew the scene. People had their favorite local bars and restaurants for hanging out after a day of hard work, where conversations typically turned to who was working where this year. The chatting and hanging out continued in Florida in the winter, where they met friends at Dubrow's Cafeteria on Miami Beach in Lincoln Roadand reminsced about last summer in the mountains. That magic pulled them back the next summer, and the grew old and infirm, along with the Catskills themselves. As the region declined in the 1970's, the Mountain Rats competed for fewer and fewer jobs, and many had trouble setting up permanent roots. Cubans displaced them in the Miami Beach hotels."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The meaning of a cafeteria

I've found a couple interesting books at the library that mention Dubrow's, in the context of understanding the history and sociology of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Miami Beach. I'll be posting some of my findings over the coming weeks.

These quotes both come from The Jews of Brooklyn by Ilana Abramovitch and Sean Galvin:

"Brooklyn boosters are prone to promote cohesion through nostalgic reminiscences, embracing detailed discussions of famous locales like Coney Island, Prospect Park, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Cherished neighborhood spots like DuBrow's Cafeteria, Schechter's candy store, or Erasmus Hall High School provide content for more specialized games of trivial pursuit."

Later in the book, there's a wonderful description of just why places like Dubrow's were so beloved in their communities:

"By far the most popular eateries were the kosher delicatessens, a Jewish-American invention. There was a deli on every block because, said the manager of Grabstein's, 'a hot dog sandwich and a pastrami sandwich and a knish was a way of life.' With their 'salami sanwiches and pickles wrapped in coarse white paper,' the delis were 'the culinary hearts, if not the heartburn, of working-class and immigrant Jewish neighborhoods.'"

(The Jews of Brooklyn, Ilana Abramovitch & Sean Galvin, 2002)