A Short History of Casablanca Café
Jova House, now home of Casablanca Café, was built in 1927 for its original owner, Mrs. J. J. Jova. The two-story masonry dwelling, commissioned by Juan Jacinto Jova, was designed by architect Francis L. Abreu, Jova’s grandson. It was the first home constructed on Fort Lauderdale Beach and is the oldest remaining structure.
Abreu, the son of Spanish and American parents, grew up in Cuba and graduated from Cornell University. He set up his architectural practice in Fort Lauderdale in 1924. Like Addison Mizner who popularized the use of Spanish themes, Abreu’s work reflected the influence of Mediterranean culture.
During the late 1920’s, Abreu became one of the most sought-after architects in Fort Lauderdale. He designed numerous commercial and public structures in both Florida and Sea Island, Georgia. Jova House, his first assignment, is one of only a few remaining example of his work in Fort Lauderdale.
Jova House is designed in Mediterranean Revival architecture, an eclectic blend of architectural elements of Spanish or Middle Eastern origins. It is found almost solely in those states that have a Spanish Colonial heritage and is a descendent of the Spanish Mission style which was popular during the first two decades of the Twentieth Century. Architectural details would often include flat roofs, entrance porches with arched openings supported by square columns, stucco exterior walls, massive offset chimney stacks, double-hung windows, ceramic tile decorations and round towers with conical roofs.
The renovation of the 1926 home started in July of 1993 and has taken almost two years to complete. The owner’s desire was to preserve the beautiful old structure in its original architectural style. Casablanca Café has kept the feel of the original house by incorporating the original working fireplace, wooden ceiling beams, spiral staircase and terrazzo floors. The wall crests and the roof tiles have been replicated and the new tiles were imported from Guatemala.
With its gourmet menu, friendly staff and rich history, Casablanca Café has become a premier waterfront dining location that has been voted Fort Lauderdale’s most romantic restaurant. Known to the locals as a favorite and to the tourists as a must see destination!
At the Corner of Alhambra Street between Las Olas Blvd. and Sunrise Blvd. on A1A.