Cuban restaurant opens in Covington's Wedding District

Covington's resurgent Wedding District welcomed a new dining option last month.  Cuba Cafe opened at 630 Madison Avenue and, unsurprisingly, features Cuban cuisine.

The intimate cafe seats 20 to 25 people and is located in the heart of Covington -  only a short walk from the popular Greenup Street and Main Strasse commercial districts.  Cuban-born restaurant owner, Willie Rodriguez, came to the United States in 1980 when he was six during the Mariel Boatlift and came directly to the Cincinnati area where his grandmother had been living since the 1960s.

Rodriguez says that the plan was to start small.  "We can have our own little niche here since there's nothing like us nearby."  The Cuban dishes will include "homemade rice, beans and a variety of meats."  The always popular Cuban sandwiches will also grace the menu with pulled pork and ham.

Cuba Cafe will also serve a variety of homemade pastries "filled with fruit, fruit and cream cheese, coconut and flan."  Early morning goers, or those just looking for a jolt, will be able to enjoy the notoriously strong Cuban coffee called "bustelo" or "cafe con leche" which has proven to be extremely popular thus far according to Rodriguez. He also offers bestelo which is served in a tiny shot glass and delivers "a jolt of espresso" for just 85 cents.

The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday for lunch and early dinner.  Rodriguez's mother is also on hand and serves as the main cook of the Cuban dishes served in family-style portions made fresh daily.  The family operation also includes Rodriguez's sister who serves up the dishes that go for the typical lunch price of $5 to $8.

The restaurant features dine-in and carry-out options and encourages those with large orders to fax them ahead at (859) 261-7600.  Major credit cards are accepted and the restaurant is closed on Sundays.

Cuba Cafe is open Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm, and on Saturday from 10am to 5pm.  To contact the restaurant for more information call (859) 261-1444.

Writer: Randy Simes
Photography by Scott Beseler