The story of Sophie's Cuban Cuisine is not the story of a family of Cuban restaurateurs passing down recipes between generations. The road to the first Sophie's location and the ones that followed was longer and more unpredictable than that. Its founders—the Luna family—arrived in New York from Lima, Peru, and started out scratching together capital by selling Peruvian food from carts at New York City soccer fields. At the time, however, their native cuisine might have seemed a little too out of the ordinary for the city's palate, so the Lunas began to do some research: what kind of menu could form the ideal home for their love of hearty portions and fresh ingredients?
With the help of Havana-trained chef Eduardo Morgado, they found the answer. The Cuban recipes at the spot they opened up were wildly popular. Their reputation grew with each roast-pork-and-ham sandwich served, and by 2001 they were operating four different Sophie's locations. But then came September 11, which demolished two outposts near the World Trade Center. A third was gobbled up by a landlord who bought them out. In the face of these setbacks, the Lunas did what they'd always done: roll up their sleeves and keep working. Today, they've planted the seeds for a franchise they expect to populate the entire East Coast with the aroma of sizzling plantains.
Their Cuban sandwich is still a customer favorite, as are pernil sandwiches with roast pork, sweet plantains, and Sophie's signature green sauce (also available bottled, although the exact recipe is kept secret, hidden at the bottom of an enormous vat of oxtail stew). In a 2008 New York Times review, Pete Wells accordingly called Sophie's a destination for "authentic sandwich bliss," and for piquant roast turkey "worth eating far, far more often than once a year." Empanadas stuffed with beef, chicken, or guavas often precede entrees of chicken fricassee or oxtail stew. The batidos (milkshakes) conclude meals on a relatively healthy note, blended from tropical fruits such as mango, papaya, and passion fruit.
Mexican-food cravings are easily satisfied at El Viejo Yayo Restaurant — this popular spot puts a fresh, five-star spin on run-of-the-mill beans and cheese.
If you're avoiding fat or gluten, you can still eat great at El Viejo Yayo Restaurant, which offers a number of low-fat and gluten-free choices.
This restaurant also operates a bar, so a round of drinks with dinner is not out of the question.
Save money on a sitter — kids are welcome to join the table at this restaurant.
You can tote your laptop here to take advantage of the free wifi.
Score quick and easy seating for your large group at El Viejo Yayo Restaurant.
Avoid playing the waiting game and call ahead for a table.
El Viejo Yayo Restaurant follows a strict formal dress code, so be sure to suit up before dining here.
A catering menu is also available if you're looking to dazzle the diners at your next shindig.
Come in or stay home. This restaurant's pickup and delivery options have you covered.
Pull into a parking space in the neighboring lot, or take advantage of the restaurant's valet service. If the lot is crowded, diners can search for street parking.
Bike parking is quick and easy at El Viejo Yayo Restaurant.
El Viejo Yayo Restaurant s mid-range cuisine will please your pockets as well as your palate.
Three meals a day are served at El Viejo Yayo Restaurant, so you can choose to start your day or end your evening here.
So come to El Viejo Yayo Restaurant, where you can taste the highest rated Mexican cuisine around.
If you're looking for a delicious taco or burrito, you'd definitely be wise to head to El Viejo Yayo Restaurant.
So break out of your normal dining routine and head over to El Viejo Yayo Restaurant for some flavorful Mexican fare.
As lively Latin music plays, guests, including celebrities such as P. Diddy, sidle up to white-clothed tables to eat large portions of Sofrito Puerto Rican Cuisine's authentic oxtail soup, fried green plantains, and skirt steak with chimichurri sauce. They can also visit the bar area, where bartenders make specialty cocktails out of fresh fruit in front of a blue-backlit bar. DJ sets and live music keep guests entertained every night of the week, and a strict dress code, no sneakers or hats, ensures that diners do not impersonate professional baseball players.
In 2002, entrepreneur Jeremy Merrin teamed with fellow restaurant mogul Arlene Spiegel and head chef Stanley Licairac to establish Havana Central, a family-friendly enterprise based on lively Latin music and the rich flavors of Cuban cuisine. The food of Cuba draws from disparate influences across the globe⎯Spanish, French, African, Chinese, and indigenous cultures⎯manifesting into tender skirt-steak ropa vieja, empanadas stuffed with savory meats and goat cheese, and salmon, chicken, and shrimp marinated in tangy citrus juices.
Though the restaurant's leafy palms and tropical cocktails hint at the freewheeling good times of 1950s Havana, the staff pairs their joie de vivre with social responsibility, specifically by donating to local charities and taking on numerous green initiatives. As guests sip mojitos and sangria and sup upon slow-roasted meats and chicken sofrito, a lineup of live entertainment keeps feet moving in rhythm. Interactive events include salsa-dance lessons, charanga bands, and reenactments of the charge up San Juan Hill.
The flavors of old Havana are alive and well at Cabana.
Cabana is making food that is not just healthy but also makes your taste buds happy.
With this restaurant's wide selection of refreshments available, you can tap into the drink menu early in the evening.
Bring your whole brood to this restaurant, where families can dig in to tasty and kid-friendly fare together.
Impress your friends and invite them to a party to remember at Cabana.
For comfortable outdoor service, Cabana sets up a seasonal patio.
Don't be the last one waiting! Reserve a seat so you can eat when you're ready.
Dining out isn't your only option here — pickup is available, too.
Cabana will even bring the amazing food from their kitchen to yours.
Ample parking is located near Cabana, including options for valet, street and garage parking.
An average meal at Cabana will set you back about $30.
Critics award the most brownie points to the restaurant's dinner offerings, but breakfast and lunch are also available.
So amp up your lunch hour with some delicious and flavorful Cuban eats from Cabana.
Top-of-the-line taste is not far at Cabana, so Caribbean-fare lovers should find their way to the table.
For that can't-get-enough Mexican flavor, check out Chili Dog, where five-star dishes are just over the counter.
Specializing in gluten-free and low-fat fare, Chili Dog has something that every stomach will enjoy.
Chili Dog honors a business casual dress code, so formal wear can be left behind.
Take the comfort of your own home and add great grub from Chili Dog to create the perfect night.
Turn your living room into a five-star restaurant with takeout or delivery from this restaurant.
Drivers can park on the street or a nearby lot near Chili Dog.
If cycling is more your speed, you'll find plenty of space to stash your bike outside the restaurant.
Make sure to hit the ATM before heading to Chili Dog — it's strictly cash-only.
So come to Chili Dog, where you can taste the highest rated Mexican cuisine around.
If you're searching for a great restaurant with traditional Mexican eats, look no further than Chili Dog.