Cuba Cuba Sandwicheria in North Stapleton is a mini-vacation to the Caribbean. “The restaurant is representative of Cuban culture, with its bright colors, salsa music and flavorful foods,” says Kristy Soccarras-Bigelow, co-owner of the restaurant with her husband.
Soccarras-Bigelow’s parents emigrated from Cuba to Miami, where Kristy grew up. She met her husband in Denver and they opened the first Cuba Cuba at 12th and Delaware in 2001. “There was no Cuban food in Denver when we started,” Soccarras-Bigelow said. “I missed my culture, my people and my food.”
Cuba Cuba, on Northfield Blvd. across the street from Macy’s, opened in late June. It is the restaurant’s fifth location including downtown, Glendale, the Denver Tech Center and Highlands Ranch.
Some of Soccarras-Bigelow’s recipes originated with her grandmother, including the black beans. The mojito is a specialty. “It’s my dad’s recipe, the best I’ve ever had!” she said. “We infuse the rum with mint; it’s all fresh made and not too sweet.”
Other specialty drinks include the caipirinha, a Brazilian cocktail made with white rum, sugar and lime, as well as sangria and piña coladas. Drinks are served atop the “domino bar:” “The top layer is a pattern of dominoes that has been epoxied over,” said Soccarras-Bigelow.
She said customers’ favorite menu items include the Cuban sandwich, roasted pork and plantains—“both salty-garlicky and sweet. People also love our ground beef peccadillo.
“Cuban food is characterized by strong flavors, especially garlic and citrus. Cuban bread is sweeter than French bread—it’s fantastic. We offer gluten-free bread as well, and gluten-free grilled fish, rice and beans.”
The décor is “Cuban/urban,” says Soccarras-Bigelow. “It’s Cuban culture as seen through my generation, more than Old Cuba.”
Live salsa music is featured at the downtown restaurant and she hopes to bring it to Stapleton. “It’s part of making it as Cuban as possible. Cubans love to talk and dance with family and friends. They are some of the friendliest people in the world.”
Soccarras-Bigelow, a mother of three, said she wants to preserve her Cuban culture for her kids.
Cuba Cuba, at 8261 E. Northfield Blvd., is open Mon.–Thurs., 11am–9pm.; Fri. and Sat., 11am–10pm. Happy hour is Mon.–Fri., 3–6pm.
For more information, see cubacubacafe.com or call 720.389.5221.