Havana Restaurant, West Palm Beach, FL
How did Havana come about? What is some of the history of the restaurant?
My father, Roberto, was not a chef but he always had a love for the kitchen and the magic of recipes. He would love to invite people over to enjoy his creations. He came to New York from Cuba, penny less, and began as a dishwasher in a pizzeria. After a few months, he worked up the corporate ladder to manager. Many years later he opened a small restaurant in Puerto Rico. They eventually wanted to move to Miami. After trying different careers and the catastrophe of Hurricane Andrew, we decided to try the restaurant industry again. His best friend saw this funny looking building in a busy corner in West Palm Beach… 25 years later, the best decision we made as a family.
Why do you think Havana has been so successful through the years? What is your favorite memory there?
The success of Havana is simple. We have dedicated this business to God. It’s in His hands. It will be here as long as He wants it to be. And likewise, He will close the doors when He thinks it’s time. Aside from that, our family has shed blood, sweat and tears here. We live and breathe Havana. It’s the only reason next to God that we are still standing. My favorite (and equally hard) memory would be working side by side to my dad. It was not easy to say the least but he gave us the tools needed to be successful.
What is your food crush / favorite item on the menu?
My favorite dish is the vaca frita with a side of white rice and beans. Simple but close to my heart. At the moment, I can not have enough of our dessert empanadas filled with dulce de leche and fried…yummmmm….
What’s one thing you would love for people to know about Havana?
Two things. We have truly become a family with our employees. It’s not them or us, we are a Havana family.
Secondly, our love for charity. Some of the charities and organziations we are involved with are the Farmworkers Coordinating Council of Palm Beach County, SHUZZ Fund, Hacer, MSOA Foundation and Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Palm Beach County. Numerous others come to mind but these would be the main ones I am involved in. SHUZZ is a non profit organization that gives new shoes to underprivileged children locally, nationally and internationally. I am proud member of that organization and everything we’ve done in only a few short years. I’ve been blessed to travel to Belle Glade, Haiti and Guatemala visiting orphanages and churches to give children shoes. Images that will stay with me for a lifetime. Looking forward to continuing in helping SHUZZ. Another organization I would like to discuss is the Farmworkers Council. There are many families in Palm Beach County that do not have food every night to eat, not even rice and beans, or toilet paper! The farmworkers help these families in many ways but one of the ways the help is by providing a food bank for these families that they can come by and pick up food and supplies needed by their families in need. Every month, Havana orders a few more items of their own inventory and it is picked up by the council. Imagine if more restaurants joined us in donating supplies? We could completely diminish hunger in palm beach county! To date we have given more than 17.5 TONS of food and products! We are so blessed everyday by our customers, we are just sharing the blessing.
What advice do you have for local aspiring restaurant owners?
Get involved! Give back! And be ready to work very very hard.
6801 S Dixie Hwy, West Palm Beach, FL 33405