Stuart, Shari, Ben, and Lizzie Debowsky

Where do you live?
We live in the North Gables

How long have you lived in the area? 
We have lived at the same address for 20 years – 10 years since we rebuilt the house.

Where are you originally from and what brought you to town?
I came to Miami for college in 1990 and never left. I met Shari at Temple Beth Am. I was the local youth group advisor and Shari was the advisor for another group.

Please share about what you do for a livelihood or what keeps you busy during the week?
Stuart – I am an architect and owner of the Debowsky Design Group. Most of my time is spent meeting new clients, making sure projects are on schedule, meeting our quality expectations, going to showrooms, creating design documents, following up on permits and all the normal responsibilities of an architectural design firm.

Shari – I am a full-time mother and full-time employee at Beth Am. I have been there for 12½ years. I’m currently the Communications and Special Projects Director and Beth AmDay Camp Director.  My days are full. When I finally take the kids home, I typically make a homemade dinner.

How often do you come to the market?
We have been going to the Coral Gables Market, religiously every Saturday, for nine straight years. I don’t think we have ever missed a market. We live close enough that we can walk.

Do you have a market ritual? If so, please describe.
The market is almost one mile exactly from our house and the kids call it our ‘nature walk’. It’s one of the few times of family life that we always set aside. Saturday mornings, from January to March, are special and reserved. It is like our Shabbat ritual. The kids look forward to it each week.  

This year we are making it a goal of meeting all the new vendors.

What’s your favorite thing to buy at LNB Grovestand and why?
Ben likes the new Sorrel Smoothie. I am seriously in love with the Turmeric Dressing. It has become an addictive force in the house. I figure, we will pretty much buy a bottle every week. We use it on salad and even as a dip for steak.
I also had my first Turmeric Tonic shot last week, which I surprisingly liked.

What’s your favorite thing to buy at other stands at the market?
We love CAO chocolates – especially their dark chocolate. It is the best quality chocolate I have ever had. The owner is Ricardo and he is a true artisan. To my knowledge, he is the only person growing cacao locally. He is dedicated to the craft more than anyone I have ever met and has become a friend over the last couple years. He has a retail store on 98th street and US1 as well.

For parents: A favorite activity we enjoy with our kids?  
We do ‘Mystery Rides’ with the kids. Its an idea we created, for our kids, so that we can take them places without them stressing before we get there. We give them clues as we are going somewhere like a museum, restaurant or roller skating. One of the kids’ favorites was when we went to the Circus. We give clues every two minutes – like, it’s where the Miami Heat play, there are animals, there is cotton candy. It makes outings fun for all of us.

The best deal at the market is:
Turmeric Dressing

I wish the market had:
Shari is missing Babe Froman who is not at the Coral Gables market this year. She misses her egg sandwiches!

A+W: Jason and Mel of Babe Froman are opening their first store soon – Babe’s Meat and Counter! That’s why they are not at the Gables Market this year. We are excited for their new location and will be sure to share when it opens.  

Favorite market story:
The coolest thing at the market was a couple years ago. There was a flash mob with music and a dance performance where a couple got engaged.

We also bump into clients and friends all the time at the market.  I always find it interesting how many people make it to the Gables market.

Most-frequented local restaurants and what dish to order:
House in the Gables – It is great comfort food. We like Town in South Miami. And, the kids love the cafes along Miracle Mile. Also – Talavera Mexican – We love the mole, and the kids love the guacamole and chips. Although, it’s not as good as the guacamole from LNB Groves.

For special occasions, I go to: 
Taco Rico! It’s a long story, but it’s where we dreamed up the idea for Debowsky Design Group. Each year, we go to commemorate the beginning and share the story with the kids. It’s always a fun night.

A worthy splurge:
I don’t splurge on much. A worthy splurge for us is when we go to celebrate an accomplishment like when the kids or business do something special.

Rainy-day activity:
Watching movies and napping on the couch. Falling asleep halfway through…

The most romantic spot around:
The Biltmore – It’s where we went on our first date, it’s where we got engaged and married. We like to rent a cabana and hang out for the day, go for dinners or brunches. We like to go whenever we have the opportunity.  

Do you participate in any community or philanthropic events that you would like to share? 
Beth Am is our number one community and where we dedicate ourselves. Shari oversees the Beth Am day school as well as the day school auction every year. Each year they raise enough to fund scholarships so that every kid can go to Jewish day school.  She is also in charge of their summer camp.

On a personal level, the one organization that we do a lot of work with is called the Victor Center – which raises money for the prevention of Jewish genetic diseases. Shari speaks all over town about getting tested to see if you have the gene. Technically, if two people with the same genetic mutation have a child, there is a 25% chance the child will be born with a potentially fatal disease. Sadly, insurance companies won’t pay for the expensive genetic tests, however they must pay for a child born with complications. The Victor Center raises money to cover the cost of tests to help parents know if they are a carrier of a genetic disease.  

Do you own your own business or offer a service? Would you share a pitch about yourself or company with the community?
Debowsky Design Group is built around the idea that your house is not a home until you love where you live. We work with any budget, whether a renovation or new construction, and guide people through the process. The services we provide are three-fold: architectural documents, interior design, and construction administration. We create unique environments for each client that represent their taste and solutions that will increase the value of their investment.

Shari – As the director of the Beth Am Day Camp, I would share that it is a fantastic opportunity for local children ages 2 – 11.  It runs, seven weeks, during the summer and enrollment is already open.

Is there a question that you would like to ask the LNBs?
I would love to know more about the farm and how us ‘city-folks’ can have more experiences on a farm. It is a seductive topic and we would love to be bigger supporters and evangelists of what you are doing. We love having you guys at the market.

Is there a question that you would like to ask the community?
From a professional standpoint, I think most people have an idea of a project that they would like to do in their home but are afraid to start. I would love to hear from people what they are concerned about and how we can help.
Our group does not charge for consultations, it is a complimentary service. You are welcome to call me to discuss your ideas. We want people to get to know us and learn what we are capable of – to talk through what their project can be and help with budgets and time lines.

Any words of advice:
One of my favorite current mottos is – The way that you do anything is the way that you do everything. I think it speaks to character.