A Grand Cafe in a Humble Neighborhood
Las Violetas closed in the late 1990s, after anchoring the Almagro barrio for more than a century, and re-opened in 2001, thanks to neighbors who convinced investors to save their landmark cafe from ruin. This is where Osvaldo Pugliese, my favorite tango composer, used to eat cake. It's also the place where the grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo held meetings, disguised as birthday parties, to make plans to find their missing grandchildren, the sons and daughters of ‘subversives’ who were ‘disappeared’ during the military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983. More than a decade after its grand re-opening – after all the Italian marble and Art Nouveau stained glass and gold-leaf ceilings have been restored – there is still a triumphant buzz in the air.
By Layne Mosler
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