Acela and Benjamin, parents of Benji and Nelson, immigrated from the island of Cuba before they were married, to then meet again in Port Chester, New York where all of Benjamin's family had moved to get away from the upcoming Castro regime. Benjamin had left, not due to the government's hostility, but for better jobs and a better chance to obtain the American dream. Having worked in Havana, in mostly the hospitality industry, he continued similar jobs in New York, such as the West Chester Country Club for over fifteen years and others before that.
A cousin of my father's friend knew of a restaurant that was for sale in the Miami area and my dad jumped at the opportunity to take a look and headed down south in 1971. They met with the owner and swiftly came to an agreement sealed with a handshake (a solid symbol of a deal in those times). He came back to us in New York and delivered the news, telling us we were moving. We left New York and moved into a place that he had chosen so we could start our new life here in Miami.
When we got back to Florida the owner of the restaurant was no longer interested in selling his restaurant to my father so he could begin his new life with our family. After settling down he got a job at Four Ambassadors and another few places to get by. The owner of the restaurant called him back sometime later and it was obvious he wanted to sell for a profit. They became partners at the restaurant and my dad was able to get his foot in the door. A while later another interested party came to try and buy the restaurant, and my father did the negotiations with them. He went to his partner with the good news of his own offer, he would pay him for his half of the business and become the full owner of the restaurant.
My father became the full owner in September of 1972. He would commute from Miami every day, however, he felt being closer to his business made more sense and bought a home on Key Biscayne. He would then come home to his family, some paperwork, and relaxation to wind down until the next day. Back then he opened at 5:30 and closed at 1:30. After Benjamin Sr. passed my brother Benjamin Jr. and I ran the business for a few years until he decided to move on. Now my wife Ota, myself (Nelson Zambrano) and daughter Kaleia are caring on the legacy. We now close at 3 pm for those people who want breakfast or lunch at any time of day.