If you've ever wandered the streets of Hollywood craving an authentic ropa vieja -- you know, the type that waters the mouth with its impeccable blend of flavor and spice -- chances are you've crossed paths with Laura's Cuban Restaurant too.
Aside from the authentic Cuban cuisine (that Yelp reviewers can't stop raving about) and the impressive beer selection, there was that certain something that made you feel at home as soon as you opened the door, even if it was your first time stepping inside.
While the namesake chef, Laura, usually keeps to the kitchen whipping up orders, it was her husband, the smiling and oh-so hospitable Ariel Tamargo, who greeted guests, took orders, and welcomed everyone into their cozy eatery. He passed away early Saturday morning, losing his battle to cancer.
Despite being called Laura's, this hidden gem was a joint endeavor between husband and wife team Laura and Ariel, whose marriage lasted for over eight years. The signage of their restaurant is a caricature of the couple: Laura serving a cup of steamy Cuban coffee, and Ariel beaming in his guayabera.
Born October 21, 1943 in Cuba, Tamargo was 69 when he passed away this weekend. Laura's grief can be felt through this post from her Facebook:
Still mourning her husband, Laura was at the restaurant this week putting on a brave face.
"We're all hanging in there," Laura said, her voice shaking. "It's a sad moment but I'm still standing. It's what he would've wanted. This [restaurant] was Ariel's dream. I have to fulfill his dream."
Flowers and condolences can be sent to Laura's Cuban Restaurant at 2723 Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood.