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Havana Grill brings in crowds with tastes of Cuba

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COURTESY HAVANA GRILL
  • Courtesy Havana Grill
Since replacing Pho Queen on April 1, Havana Grill (3748 Astrozon Blvd., havanagrillco.com) has been mostly full for lunch and dinner services, says co-owner Carlos Rodriguez. No surprise, given his experience.

“I’ve owned Cuban restaurants down in Miami for the last 20 years,” he says. “I came up here a year ago, and I saw the opportunity to become the first [brick and mortar] Cuban restaurant in the Springs.” (Editor’s note: Actually Cubanacan, now defunct, may have been the first, circa 2007, but Havana Grill does appear to be the sole Cuban spot today.)
Location Details Havana Grill
3748 Astrozon Blvd.
Academy (South)
Colorado Springs, CO
445-0776
Mexican/Tex-Mex/Southwestern
The customer response has been great so far, but he has had to do some educating. The biggest misconception is that Cuban food is spicy. Rodriguez and team will serve dishes with jalapeños and hot sauce on the side, but while Cuban food goes heavy on herbs and spices, capsaicin-spicy food is not the norm.

So far, Rodriguez says the restaurant’s most popular offering is the churrasco — skirt steak — and the Cubano sandwich. Rodriguez cites, in part, the house-baked pan Cubano, made from frozen dough flown in from Miami. He does the same with the bakery’s various pastries, which he says usually sell out by day’s end.

“If you love sweets, you have to have the guava or the guava and cheese [pastelito].”

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