Live Real Estate News
St. Louis has a new destination for traditional Cuban cuisine.
Havana’s Cuisine debuted its casual downtown restaurant on September 24, with a mission to become “the home of the Cuban sandwich in St. Louis.” The concept comes from chef-owner Tamara Landeiro, a Havana native who moved to the city with her family in 2014, following the ambitions of her daughter, Thalia – an up-and-coming chess prodigy who currently plays competitively for Saint Louis University’s chess team.
In 2019, while missing the flavors of her hometown, Landeiro decided to bring them to her new home, opening a food stall at the Soulard Farmers Market and offering catering services with assistance from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis. A year later, she closed the stall and launched a food truck, serving her Latin American menu at stops around town, including Tower Grove Farmers’ Market and 9 Mile Garden.
With the new brick-and-mortar location, Landeiro has room to grow, expanding her collection of Caribbean-inspired sandwiches, plates, sides and sweets. With four years of gastronomy school and prior experience owning a cafeteria under her belt, she hopes to offer homestyle Cuban food cooked the way her family has always made it.
“I used to live in the middle of Havana, and I miss it so much,” Landeiro says. “I want people to taste the food that we love. We want to make the food with authentic ingredients, so it tastes just like it does in Cuba.”
For the base of her sandwiches, Landeiro proudly sources loaves from Tampa’s La Segunda Central Bakery, which was established in 1915 and is renowned for its housemade Cuban bread. The signature Cuban sandwich at Havana’s Cuisine features pork marinated with bitter oranges and garlic before being slow-roasted for more than five hours and pressed between slices of the bread along with ham, Swiss, mustard and pickles on a panini grill.
The Cuban sandwich is also available in variations with additional salami or croquettes or as a medianoche on sweet egg bread rather than the crustier Cuban bread. Landeiro is also excited to bring vaca frita – a fried shredded beef sandwich with Swiss and garlic mayo – to the menu.
“Our main focus is on Cuban sandwiches and providing a place for people to come, sit down and enjoy them,” Landeiro says. “We also have empanadas filled with beef, ham and cheese or guava and cream cheese – many people come looking for that.”
Plates served with white rice, black beans and plantains are available with garlic-roasted chicken, mojo-roasted pork or a best-selling entrée from the food truck: ropa vieja (Cuban shredded beef). Sides include black bean soup, yucca with mojo and plantain chips, while beverages include coconut water, juices and Malta soda with condensed milk.
Havana’s Cuisine is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11am to 8pm and Sunday from 11am to 4pm.
Havana’s Cuisine, 1131 Washington Ave., Downtown, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.449.6771, havanascuisine.com
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