It is 10 a.m. on a Saturday and Jimbo Luznar, the owner of Jimbo’s Place, is smoking a cigar and drinking a Budweiser as he talks to his customers and staff.
At 81 years old, he is a man that remembers his past, letting his experiences show him important values. “I don’t believe in religion and I don’t believe in politics, I believe in nature,” he said. “Without nature I would not be alive”
Jimbo and his family used the land to help them survive the Great Depression. “We hunted squirrel and rabbits, anything with four legs we ate – hell anything with two legs we ate,” he said, laughing. “Cause we had pheasants and turkeys and quail.”
This attention to the past is what makes Jimbo’s Place appeal to so many of its patrons.
Jimbo’s Place is located off of Virginia Key and serves smoked fish and beer. It has been the site of many photoshoots and film productions. Movies shot here include Flipper, Too Fast Too Furious, and Jimbo’s favorite Gentle Ben.
Jimbo still comes every weekend to see friends and strangers that have come to meet him. People come not only to eat the fish, but to enjoy the atmosphere that many call welcoming
“This place is very relaxing place to go with some buddies. You can hang out… get good food, get good drink. It is a good place to go,” said University of Miami junior Richard Randall.
“The atmosphere here lets you sit here and talk to people, or sit here and meditate and no one will bother you,” said Louis Stinson Jr., a man that has been coming to Jimbo’s Place since he was in high school.
This atmosphere is a testament to Jimbo keeping his past alive. “I have been in Miami for over 35 years and this reminds me of the old times in the islands,” said Jamaican Paul, a Jimbo’s employee.
Jimbo’s memory also endears itself to his customers. “He never forgets a face,” Stinson said.
His customers include notables like Jeb Bush, according to Stinson, and UM students as well.
The first time Jimbo met Willie Haskell, a senior at UM, he spent 30 minutes talking with him about Maryland, where both of them were raised.
The buildings also come from a different age, as the kitchen is made of the wood from Key Biscayne Barn. The shacks that dot Jimbo’s Place were built in the 1960s for the horror film, Claws. An old bus sits in the corner next to a Volkswagen beetle that has been covered in spray paint.
The restaurant is going to stay this way too. “Only reason it is not different than what it is because [the movie people] like it like it is. It is so versatile,” Jimbo said. “You can go 10 feet, find something different to shoot.”
As for Jimbo, he is going to keep his lifestyle as long as he can. “I am not going to slack down. If I slack down, I’m on the way out. I am not going to slack down till I have to” Jimbo said.
Jamaican Paul assures that it is not going to be anytime soon. “This man is going to live as long as badda bing, badda boom,” he said. “But don’t tell him I am going to be right behind him.”