About Esther's Restaurant
Esther's was established at 4540 NW 7 Avenue by Esther and Clemente Palmarola in 1961. It was originally started as a daily dinner service that delivered to private homes. In 1965, Pablo A. Suarez, his wife Flora, and their three young children, Tony, Pablo E., and Diana, arrived from Cuba as refugees. Pablo Sr.'s first job was at "Esther's Cantina", as it was known back then, as a kitchen helper. Pablo Sr. had operated a seaside restaurant in a small fishing village in Western Cuba. A few months after he began working at Esther's, he borrowed some money from relatives and bought his own "cantina" in Miami. By 1971, Esther and Clemente were ready to retire and called Pablo who bought the successful business.
Pablo Sr. cooked while Flora took care of their growing list of customers and handled the office work. The children helped whenever they were off from school. The business continued to flourish because of their hard work and determination. Ten years of working six to seven days a week, from 4 a.m. to 6 or 7 p.m. were paying off.
After graduating from Jr. college, both Tony and Pablo E. came to work with their parents. By now, Pablo Sr. was already selling food to walk-up customers that would come in asking for whatever "smelled so good." The little cash from these sales was put into a cigar box. Tony and Pablo E. realized that there was a need in the neighborhood for fresh, good food, and slowly began to improve the property to accommodate the walk-up traffic. Business continued to grow.
By this time, Diana's husband, Tomas Gil, had joined them as well as Jose Cata who was a friend of Tomas'. They bought the building next door with investment money from Cata and moved the daily dinner service into there in order to remodel the older property into a take-out restaurant.
Customers were coming in from neighboring communities, so Esther's was ready to expand. In 1993 they opened Esther's restaurant at 791 NW 20 Street. In 1998, they opened Esther's Restaurant at 777 NW 103 Street. The most recent, in June 2001, was Esther's Restaurant at 17751 NW 27 Avenue. This last restaurant was the first one built from the ground up with all new state-of-the-art equipment and inside dining. This one is the pride of the family.
Pablo Sr. retired in the late 80s, but continues to come to work everyday. Flora also retired but she no longer comes in. In 2004, Jose Cata sold his interest to the family. Sons Tony and Pablo E., along with son-in-law Tomas, took over the responsibilities of running the business day-to-day with the help of several managers and assistants. Tomas passed away in 2011 in a tragic accident.The restaurant at 20th Street was closed and the property was sold in 2012.