Jumbos closes doors
Liberty City staple closes its doors after 59 years
Ashley Montgomery | 7/31/2014, 9 a.m.
Just on the brink of losing a fan-favorite Miami Heat Player, LeBron James — Miami takes yet another loss — Jumbo’s. As the old tried-and-true saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.”
On Wednesday, July 23, Jumbo’s restaurant served its last order of its famous fried shrimp. With a live band and plenty of hungry patrons to accompany him, owner, Bobby Flam, 69, went out with a smile.
What was once a segregated diner that served Blacks from a takeout window in the back of the restaurant has made a lasting impact during its nearly 60 years of existence.
“I’ve been here many times before,” Precious Chatman said. “He’s served quite some time here in the community and I am glad that I got to witness history take place.”
Jumbo’s, owned by Flam (who took over the restaurant from his father Isadore in 1967), was the first Liberty City restaurant to employ Blacks.
“This used to be the hang-out spot back in the day — it was more than just a place to come to eat,” Chatman said. “People used to stand around outside and sell things, it was like a flea market where you could buy mostly anything.”
On its last day, Flam thanked the community for their support over the years. He gave a special thanks to a longtime friend Kevin for being is go-to guy in the diner for decades.
“It’s a neighborhood institution and anytime a neighborhood loses a place that brings the community together it’s a loss,” Stephen Millan, circuit court judge candidate said. “It’s one less place we get to gather and see one another.”
Jumbo’s was known for its family-oriented environment. Based on the rich history adorning the walls of the diner well-known to local celebrities met there. For instance, the Edwards family who gathered at Jumbo’s every Sunday since they moved out of the neighborhood 45 years ago.
On a mission to make an everlasting change within the community, it is reported that Flam sold the building for $490,000 to an unnamed developer with the promise to turn it into a retail center and low-income housing.
Flam also said that after 47 years of working 24 hours a day seven days a week — it was time.
Closing and selling the diner will afford him some pretty intangible luxuries too, like spending quality time with his family.