David's Cafe Allegedly Owes $80,000 In Wages To Former Employees

Categories: News
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Alex Rodriguez
Protesters outside of David's Cafe on Collins Avenue.
Fans of longtime South Beach Cuban fixture David's Cafe were saddened when, in July, its Lincoln Road establishment closed its doors for good. For the restaurant's newly out-of-work employees, though, the closing wasn't a bittersweet moment or an unexpected blow. For them, David's could have closed half a year ago and it wouldn't have made a difference.

That's because the former workers -- servers, hosts, busboys and kitchen staff -- say they went the last five months of the restaurant's existence without a paycheck. The ex-employees allege that the restaurant's owners owe them nearly $80,000 total in back wages. What's worse, they say that the owners have been promising them the money for months, only to keep pushing back the pay day.

"They had no intention to pay us," says Evilio Dasilva, who worked at David's Cafe II as a waiter for six years. "They were dragging it out."

The owners of David's Cafe did not respond to a request for comment.

The workers haven't gone down quietly, though. For the last two weeks, they've gathered in front of David's Cafe's original location on Collins Ave. and 11th St. to protest. Waving signs and cheering for every honk they get from passing cars, they hope to draw attention to their plight.

So far, no one's been able to come to their help. The workers took their dispute to the Federal Department of Labor, asking them to mediate. The department wrote back to say that, while they felt the workers were in the right, there weren't resources available to help them pursue the case, according to Dasilva.

There's been better luck with local officials, though. Dasilva tells Riptide that both the Miami-Dade County Commission, through Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, and the Miami Beach city government are looking to step in and help them get paid.

According to the former David's Cafe II employees, the dispute over wages began earlier this year, when the owners stopped cutting them checks. For weeks, Dasilva says, management promised them their money, even admitting that they were behind on the payments. But those conversations dragged on with no resolution.

"They said they were sorry, but they couldn't pay us and we had to wait," Dasilva says. He adds that the owners never gave a timeframe as to payment.

Furthermore, instead of paying workers, Dasilva says that the restaurant owners tried to deny payment by questioning whether the employees were legal residents of the country. That despite the fact that, as Dasilva points out, immigration status has no bearing on whether or not the restaurant should pay the money owed. He also says that these same possibly illegal employees have been working at David's Cafe for years with management approval.

For now, the impasse remains. Dasilva says that the restaurant's owners have not spoken with the protesting employees in the last few weeks. But he's hopeful that, with city officials now involved, there can be a resolution soon. Until then, the employees will be in front of David's Cafe I every Tuesday and during weekends to make their voices heard.

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REALLY?? How surprise I am. Restaurant business are famous here in Miami for that kind of crap. Masters of deception that go to any length even breaking the law of the USA to avoid paying decent wages or PAYING THEM AT ALL. Disgusting. ALL RESTAURANT OWNERS are to know that this movement is JUST BEGINNING and that we that work as SERVERS, BUSSERS ARE TIRED OF YOUR CRAP, DISHONESTY AND JUST PLAIN ROBBERY. GREEDY PIGS. DAVID'S CAFE OWN TO KNOW THAT MANY MORE WILL BE JOIN AND THAT YOU WILL RECEIVE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF NEGATIVE MARKETING! PIGS, GREEDY PIGS AND THIEVES....PAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I'm sure that the Honorless Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is working to help these people out.

drakemallard topcommenter


You can call or visit any Wage and Hour Office to ask about the laws or file a complaint. You can also call WHD's toll-free help line: 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243) TTTY Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time


WHD will continue to enforce the FLSA and MSPA without regard to an employee’s immigration status. No employer should have an unfair advantage because he employs undocumented employees and doesn’t pay them.


WHD staff are fluent in many languages. We also have available a language interpretive service which can assist with translation in more than 170 languages.



The FLSA contains a two-year statute of limitations (three-years for willful violations). This means that any part of a back wage claim which was earned more than two years before a federal court lawsuit is filed may not be collectible. To ensure we can complete our investigation before the statute of limitation expires, employees should file complaints with WHD as soon as possible.


WHD Local Offices


Fort Lauderdale Area Office US Dept. of Labor Wage & Hour Division Federal Building, Room 408 299 East Broward Blvd. Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301-1976

Phone: (954) 356-6896 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243)  



Michael Young District Director

Miami District Office US Dept. of Labor Wage & Hour Division Sunset Center 10300 Sunset Drive, Room 255 Miami, FL 33173-3038

Phone: (305) 598-6607 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243)


Will Garnitz District Director

Orlando Area Office US Dept. of Labor Wage & Hour Division 1001 Executive Center Drive, #103 Orlando, Florida 32803

Phone: (407) 648-6471 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243)  


Joan Stiles Assistant District Director

Tallahassee Area Office US Dept. of Labor Wage & Hour Division 227 North Bronough Street Room 4120 Tallassee, FL 32301

Phone: (850) 942-8341 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243)  


Viengkeo Vilaylak Assistant District Director

Tampa District Office US Dept. Of Labor Wage & Hour Division Austin Laurel Building 4905 W. Laurel Avenue, Suite 300 Tampa, FL 33607-3838

Phone: (813) 288-1242 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243)  


James Schmidt District Director  

West Palm Beach Area Office US Dept. Of Labor Wage & Hour Division 1818 S. Australian Ave. #251 West Palm Beach, FL 33401  

Phone: (561) 640-0474 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243)  

Emmanuel Morel Assistant District Director  


Morris Solow
Morris Solow

Bongo`s Cuban Cafe @ The Hard Rock Did The Same Thing To Their Employees. They Owed Them 5 Weeks Pay And Shut The Door`s. Tatu Bar & Pan Asian Grill @ The Hard Rock Is Doing The Same.

Erin Barber
Erin Barber

Last time we ate there (about two months ago) the food was awful. Used to be a decent place

Josi Denise
Josi Denise

More businesses do this than realized. Sometimes they know people high up enough to erase the reports. And employees who aren't legal fear they will be turned in.

Alejandro Almirola
Alejandro Almirola

This is why businesses should be required to pay waiters better and a wake up call to waiters that they have to unionize already!

Adrian Rivera
Adrian Rivera

Id be absolutely livid if this happened to me but I wouldnt LET IT happen. If you work for ONE WEEK and dont get paid its call to leave and report them immediately. anything more than that is their negligence. That being said the employer needs to get locked up immediately.

Robert Vega
Robert Vega

Shame on them!! WTF! Work and no pay? Screw you!

Fernando Buch
Fernando Buch

so, what's the problem here? make your case and sue them

Anyelina Pérez
Anyelina Pérez

5 months working without getting paid? only stupid people keep working without getting paid!


"Furthermore, instead of paying workers, Dasilva says that the restaurant owners tried to deny payment by questioning whether the employees were legal residents of the country. "


Ok, so who is in the wrong? Wasn't it the owners that hired these employees? Too bad.  They should have checked the employees' immigration status prior to hiring them, instead of hiring them, making them work, not paying them, and now using their status as an excuse to not pay. Good luck to the owners, because they can be thrown in jail for having hired illegal workers in the first place, especially because based on their argument, they KNEW they were illegal and still hired them.  


Taking advantage of people is wrong, and making them work for free is a crime regardless of their legal status.

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