Fall 2010 Issue

Features: Very Distinguished

Distinguished Alumnus in Law

Alfredo J. Gonzalez ’88

Alfredo J. Gonzalez may be a highly skilled attorney but his family’s success started in the kitchen. His Cuban immigrant parents, Alfredo and Merita Gonzalez, started David’s Café in Miami Beach in the 1970s. “At the time there were not many Cuban restaurants in the Miami Beach area,” Gonzalez explains.

Fast forward 33 years and David’s Café is recognized as a Miami Beach landmark that has served everyone from Gloria Estefan to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. “It’s part of the South Beach allure, which is why you never know who will be sitting next to you,” says Gonzalez, whose personal favorite is the marinated half-roasted chicken on a salad, or with rice, or even as sandwich. “Talk about a versatile meal,” he jokes, “so good.”

Seize the moment. You never know if it's your last opportunity until it is too late.

While Gonzalez has many wonderful memories of growing up in the café and watching his mother make her famous “arroz con pollo” or his father cooking his special mash made with his secret ingredients, he realized he was destined for a career in law when as a student at Miami Beach Senior High School, he competed in Future Business Leaders of America and placed first in Miami-Dade County and third in the state of Florida in the business law competition. After earning a dual bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Barry, Gonzalez earned his juris doctor at St. Thomas University.

As a shareholder in the law firm Greenberg Taurig in Miami, Gonzalez’s practice focuses on the areas of local government law, particularly land use, zoning, code issues, procurement and development. He represents major corporations and developers in securing government approvals for a variety of ventures, from large-scale residential and commercial projects such as the W South Beach Hotel to single-family projects and historic building restorations.

“I feel most excited by my job when I drive though the various areas of South Florida and see the completed buildings or projects for which I obtained construction approvals. It’s very rewarding to see the transformation and evolution of South Florida, which is my home for life,” says Gonzalez, who notes that the legal skills and experiences he has gained over the years have also been a valuable asset to his family’s business.

Prior to joining Greenberg Taurig, Gonzalez worked in Miami-Dade County government for more than 10 years, including serving as chief of policy for Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno A. Barreiro. He also serves on numerous boards, including the executive committee of the Beacon Council, the board of governors for the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, and the board of trustees for the Historical Museum of South Florida.

Yet, despite his long and successful career in law, Gonzalez says he never forgets what made that possible. “My parents, Alfredo and Merita, sold many Cuban cafés con leche to pay for my education. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their love and support.”