Restaurant to bring traditional Cuban flavors, with flairNovember 14, 2018
By ALLEN LAMAN
JASPER — Yasel Garcia knows that everyone likes Cuban food. If you’ve never had it before, you’ll crave it after you try it. And now you have the chance to do just that.
Yasel and his wife, Neyvi, are opening Latin Cuba Restaurant in downtown Jasper on Friday. The establishment is located at 314 Newton Street, in the building that formerly housed the El Campesino Mexican Restaurant. It will be the only Cuban restaurant in the city.
The Garcias were born in Cuba and have lived in Jasper for five years. They have billed the new establishment as a place home to authentic Cuban cuisine that combines traditional flavors with a flair unique to their business.
“The objective of this restaurant is to try to make the community close,” Yasel said. “(Let) them try new food that I know that they would like. Everybody that has already tried it — Cuban food — they always like it.”
Yasel said that when he and Neyvi moved to Dubois County, the Cuban community was small. He’s seen it grow recently, and he’s also found that Americans fall in love with his birth country’s food after eating it. Yasel said those who first tasted the Garcias’ grub at parties the couple has hosted also believe that opening the restaurant is good for the city because it will introduce other Jasper locals to how good the food tastes.
Latin Cuba Restaurant’s menu is filled with 75 appetizers, sides, dishes and desserts. Some of the meals the Garcias believe will be a hit include the lechon asado — slow roasted, sliced pork served with onions — and the ropa vieja, which is shredded beef in tomato creole sauce with onion and peppers.
The restaurant will be open seven days a week. It will operate from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. In a couple months, breakfast will also be served.
Yasel previously held jobs at Farbest Foods and Jasper Engines and Transmissions. Neyvi also worked at JET. When the building became available a couple months ago, the Garcias jumped on it. Yasel previously owned a pizza, burrito and taco restaurant on the Caribbean island of Dominica, where he lived before moving to the U.S.
He and Neyvi have a 2-year-old daughter, Kayla.
The Jasper Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon-cutting event at Latin Cuba Restaurant at 5 p.m. Friday, after which the new business will officially open. Nancy Eckerle, executive director of the Jasper Chamber of Commerce, encouraged people to check out the new joint.
“It’s just something different, something unique, and I think it’s another way to welcome people of a different nationality,” Eckerle said. “And to let them know that we’re supportive of them opening up a business. And we should be proud that they’re willing to kind of reach out and do that.”
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