Surfside downtown suffers after condo building collapse

SURFSIDE, Fla. — Cafe Vert, a kosher restaurant on the typically bustling Harding Avenue, was quiet during what normally would have been a lunch rush time Wednesday.

Michael Labi, who manages the restaurant owned by his family, noted how slow business had become in recent weeks since Champlain Towers South collapsed a mile away.

“I’m not going to complain about business when people have lost their lives and parents and family members, but it has been very slow,” he said, adding he knew many regular customers who lived in New York and Canada and owned homes in the area were not returning to Surfside during this time. “Even during COVID we had business, but not like this.”

Business owners along Harding Avenue have said that the collapse of the condo building nearby has taken an emotional toll on them, as many have lost friends and regular customers. Some also noted that it has created an economic ripple effect, as well.

“It’s been impossible,” said…

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