A new Cuban restaurant and coffee shop is coming to Fort Lauderdale next spring.
While you can argue that the last thing Broward County needs is yet another Cuban restaurant, owners Ryan Campbell and Alex Recio want you to know they won't be offering just any Latin American concept. Instead, they say their Colada Cuban Coffee House & Eatery could help change the face of Cuban cuisine for South Florida.
Colada will offer it all: from cortadito and flan to fresh guava pastries and pressed Cuban sandwiches. While the menu items are nothing out of the ordinary, how these items will be prepared and presented will be.
Friends and South Florida natives, 28-year-old Campbell and 26-year-old Recio both grew up in second-generation Cuban American households, and were used to eating at small, family-run Cuban bakeries and restaurants. That includes their biggest inspiration: Hollywood's Miramar Bakery, a 30-year-old eatery that Recio's father purchased almost eight years ago.
"Coming from that experience, we both had a lot of the same issues," said Campbell. "Basically, we wanted to know why no one had tried to make Cuban food more relatable for non-Hispanics. Our goal is to make this type of establishment more accessible to everyone who loves the Cuban cuisine but aren't necessarily used to going to the traditional restaurants where staff may not speak English and menu items might seem foreign."
To do so, Campbell and Recio want to create an old school-style Cuban eatery with a new-school twist. Think the fast-casual concept, Cuban-style.
"Our goal is to make the customer feel at home, like they're walking into a Starbucks or Chipotle," said Campbell. "That type of environment will encourage people to explore the menu."
In addition, the new 1,500-square-foot eatery will include a lounge-style seating area and will offer Wi-Fi and TV. It will be the type of place where you can watch a sports game late at night or just relax with a cup of coffee and pastry during the day. A wine and liquor license will allow them to offer a weekday happy hour, where they will be serving craft beer and wine as well as sangria and mojitos. Expect a Cuban-American-style brunch and live music on the weekends too.
Campbell said Colada Cuban Coffee House & Eatery will be the first of multiple locations across South Florida. The restaurant is slated to open on the ground floor of the new Manor apartment complex at Flagler Village near downtown Fort Lauderdale, alongside other businesses like Mellow Mushroom and the Brass Tap. The area offers the perfect urban environment for people to live, work, and play -- all in the same place, said Campbell.
The duo, who currently manage Miramar Bakery as partners, are learning the ropes of the business. Their goal is to offer a consistent product from a wide-ranging menu that will cover pastries, baked goods, and breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. To do so, they've streamlined Miramar Bakery's production process in preparation for Colada's 2015 opening.
"No matter what, you're going to get the exact same pastry, because everything will be made in the same place, by the same person, every single day," said Campbell.
Colada Cuban Coffee House & Eatery will be located at 525 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Visit coladahouse.com/miramar.
Nicole Danna is a food blogger covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.
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