For more than five decades, Jumbo’s Restaurant on NW 7th Avenue has weathered literal and figurative storms – social change, economic turmoil, hurricanes, a community in flux. You need only look at the cobbled-up building for snapshots into the past and present: the back door, where until 1966 black diners were only allowed to order takeout. A sign hung under the order counter for the Obama Deal (two cheeseburgers, ketchup, sliced pickle, fries, 16-oz drink, $5.99). Years of local best-of awards and national recognition in 2008 as an American Classic by the James Beard Foundation. A proclamation overlooking the gritty parking lot: Jumbo’s Stands the Test of Time. Invisible scars are there too, like the memory of the tragic deaths of two men standing outside of the restaurant, mowed down by an out-of-control driver two summers ago.
Jumbo’s has been through all of it. This week, its doors will close.
“Wednesday’s the last day,” says owner Bobby Flam, with a shrug of patient resignation, looking around at barely a handful of customers. The business just isn’t there anymore. He’s selling the property, though not the name, to a developer.
Flam, 69, has managed this Liberty City institution since he