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Cuban Revolution

Posted by YAR 6 Jul 2009 72 Comments

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The owners of Cuban Revolution (at the American Tobacco Campus) like stirring controversy with their politics.  We’re not going to touch that, but we’ve learned that sometimes food can be pretty contentious, too.  Our experience (at the soft opening and a meal a few days later) was that the food was decent, with the potential to be pretty good.

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I really enjoyed all of the appetizers/tapas we ordered.  My favorite was probably the salsa, which the waitress correctly hyped up.  It was interestingly sweet with a touch of spice.  I also enjoyed the guacamole (it had some extra spice), croquetas, and tostones.  I think the tapas might end up being where the restaurant shines.

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The steak with chimichurri was the highlight of our entrees. The steak was cooked properly and the sauce tasted like I remember it from Argentina.  Our party couldn’t agree on whether we thought the mashed sweet potatoes were too sweet, but by 3-1 we decided they were.  The maduros (sweet plantains) were good, but when Mami Nora’s is having a good day, these couldn’t come close.

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The cuban sandwich was unexciting but tasty.  I probably would have enjoyed mine more if it had been warmer, but the all-important bread was quite good.

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Our friend said her veggie Maduro wrap was good and tasted fresh, but needed some sort of sauce to make it complete.

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The bar space seems to be a focus here, so drinks are key.  The mojito we got was classic and decent. (Though I may be ruined for them since I started making them with New Orleans Vodka instead of rum.  Seriously, try it if you can find it.)  At the soft opening they had a frozen mojito that I was suspicious of at first, but this one was actually was not bad–some extra mintiness cancelled out some of the sweetness.  It was unclear if they will be offering this regularly (they didn’t have a drink menu yet), but it would be a good/unique addition.  CR might turn out to be a good cocktail spot…but they need to work on their beer selection.  This is something they wouldn’t necessarily know because they are from out of town, but all Durham restaurants must have a good beer selection.  It is just part of Durham dining.

The menu itself needs some design help, our table agreed.  It is trying to be splashy, but the end result is that it is hard to read and confusing.  Maybe we’re just getting old, but it hurt our eyes.

We look forward to hearing other people’s thoughts.  We do wish the restaurant well — they seem intent on creating something fun and we can get behind that.

72 Comments »

  • Mike said:

    where is this? not that it was a rave review, just curious. apologies if i’m just missing it.

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    dave replies on July 6th, 2009 at 8:12 am:

    Cuban Revolution is located in the American Tobacco Campus. It’s in the location previously occupied by the Symposium Cafe.

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  • Elliot Acosta said:

    I was able to hit the Cuban Revolution for lunch the other day and it was decent enough. I agree that the menu was absolutely ridiculous. I didn’t know half the time what was an actual menu item or a communism factoid.

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  • G Wolf said:

    We hit it up on Thursday night, and ended up going with 10 different tapas for the 4 of us.

    Overall I thought it was good, but not great. The salsa was tasty (as mentioned), and some of the plantain/yuca dishes were good too. Otherwise, it was just cuban-themed bar food to me.

    Sangria was pretty good though, it definitely hit the spot.

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    P replies on March 19th, 2010 at 6:14 pm:

    The sangria is made by franzia

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    judas_escargot replies on March 20th, 2010 at 8:04 am:

    Well, at least it’s vacuum-sealed to prevent oxidation and preserve freshness.

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  • Jon said:

    I tried CR out with a few friends before Friday’s Bulls games. My pork sandwich was pretty solid, but unspectacular. The folks I was with enjoyed the black bean soup but didn’t think much of the cuban sandwich. The atmosphere was fun and I’ll certainly go back to try some other things on the extensive menu (which was every bit as chaotic as described above).

    Our biggest complaint were the prices of a couple things on an overall reasonable menu. We got the sweet potato “Che” fries for $5 and were shocked when it was about 15 fries on a plate the size of a tea cup saucer. The mojitos at $8.50 were also weak and over-priced.

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  • Gregor Samsa said:

    A few menu suggestions:

    The Che platter (a Bolivian favorite): a selection of blood sausage
    The Huber Matos soup: prison gruel
    The Mariel Boatlift memorial chowder, made with chunks of shark chum

    The theme of the restaurant is infantile leftist chic. How about a Valley of the Fallen restaurant, commemorating Franco and the days when that revolution was in the air? How chic would that be?

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  • TSQ75 said:

    “The Mariel Boatlift memorial chowder, made with chunks of shark chum”

    OMG how utterly offensive is that?

    well, i’ve written it off from the get-go. its over the top-ness just turns me off. Much as the prices do.

    Salsa? seriously?

    and what is that on the plate with the Tostones?

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  • Lucille Ricardo said:

    The tostones come with something akin to a garlic aioli, but I didn’t try it as I like ‘em plain. My companion thought it fine. Plain they were yummy.

    Still, for tapas, I’d still prefer the trek to Glenwood South in Raleigh and the (ought-to-be-in-Durham) Spanish (cum Colombian kinda) Tasca Brava.

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  • mh said:

    We went for lunch on Sunday and had a bunch of different sandwiches. They were all good, but not mind-blowing. Chips and salsa were good – I agree that they salsa is excellent. I also agree that the menu is absolutely terrible. I don’t even care about the crazy politics on the menu – just use a standard font, people! Also, the service was fine, but that was only because the place was essentially empty – any busier, and I am pretty sure we would have been forgotten. For those looking for a good non-alcoholic drink – I had the guava house made soda, which was quite good, but overly expensive. They are supposed to be open until 2am on Friday and Saturday – I am interested to see whether it will be a popular late night spot.

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  • Nando said:

    I grew up eating Cuban food in Puerto Rico (from real Cubans who had come over in the late 70′s and early 80′s and set up shop, kind of like in Miami). So, it was with great enthusiasm that I ventured out to CR for lunch today. I haven’t had a good Cuban sandwich since I left the island.

    Well, a quick read of the ingredients on the menu told me that it’s not traditional at all. They add mayo and salami to an already perfect combination of roast pork, ham, swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard (why mess with perfection?). I must say, the sandwich tasted good, but there wasn’t enough meat on mine. I had one slice of ham and one of roast pork (about half as thick as the ham slice) and couldn’t find the salami. Because of the lack of meat, the mustard and the 45 pickles overpowered the sandwich. I’m willing to give it one more try with double meat and see, but I might just have to keep this place as a hip bar by the ballpark that I walk by and think, “wow, this had so much potential!”

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    Judy replies on July 11th, 2009 at 6:30 pm:

    Having eaten at CR last night my thoughts for you are to keep walking down to Tyler’s. My brother had the cuban last night and totally agrees with your assessment. He even asked to have the mayo left off, which they didn’t. Our waitress was inadequate and inattentive. As far as drinks go, my gimlet didn’t taste as it should. We politely paid for our meal, which we didn’t finish, and walked over to Tyler’s for the remainder of bar experience. I don’t think I have it within me to give them a second chance.

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  • Tooth said:

    City Beverage in SW Durham has a pretty honest Cuban sandwich. A thick slice of roast pork, ham, swiss, tart pickle relish, mustard and good pressed bread. Its a bit expensive at $10, but it comes with great fries and that help make the price (a little) easier to handle.

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    CitizenSpain replies on July 7th, 2009 at 9:54 am:

    Tooth is telling the truth – the City Beverage Cuban sandwich is worth the trip. The rest of the menu is stellar, as well.

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    Nando replies on July 9th, 2009 at 9:17 am:

    Hmm, I live right by Southpoint so I’ll be sure to check this out. It’s only a few miles from my house. Thanks for the tip!

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    Anna replies on July 11th, 2009 at 11:12 am:

    City Beverage is a great place, and they have great food. They do not have a cuban sandwich. You have to make the sandwich on cuban bread in order for it to be called such. May sound picky….but what if I served you a hamburger on a hot dog bun? Can I still call it a hamburger? That may be a silly example, but the bread is critical for the sandwich. I’m looking forward to trying CR’s cuban since they use the right kind of bread!

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    JohnforAmerica replies on July 28th, 2009 at 11:36 am:

    City Beverage has great food, but their wait staff is too busy trying to be hip to provide any semblance of service. That said, the Gorgonzola steak sandwich was pretty amazing!

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  • Dave Johnson said:

    We went to this restaurant expecting authentic Cuban food and were surprised by the poor taste of the theme. It appeared to be making more of a communist statement then a statement of good food, which by the way was not that good. I will not be back.

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  • Nancy said:

    Is it kid friendly at night or no?

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  • Rene said:

    Let me keep this short,
    If this is a Cuban Restaurant, then I’m Tony Montana. It seems that they take their name seriously because they ration the food. They sevre the side salad for the sandwich in a pill cup. The Cuban Sandwich looked like a Medianoche(They forgot the mustard and pickles). The maduros(ripped plantains)on a stick where priced like ahi tuna. The ambiance was great, good backgound music and artwork. However, the food is not up to par.

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    Gary replies on July 8th, 2009 at 10:23 pm:

    “It seems that they take their name seriously because they ration the food.”

    This may be the best thing I’ve ever read here.

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    Nando replies on July 9th, 2009 at 9:16 am:

    Hahaha, rationing the food. That’s pretty funny.

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  • Have you tried Cuban Revolution in American Tobacco yet? - 30Threads.com: Highlighting the Triangle Online said:

    [...] gave the new restaurant and favorable review. They tried some tapas recommended by the foodies at Carpe Durham. Afterward they went to Dain’s Place for trivia. Full reviews of both here: Ginny Skalski [...]

  • Barbara said:

    I haven’t been there yet but was a little shocked about the propaganda on the site (even though I’m a liberal myself), because most Cubans I knew in FL were republicans and would likely be horrified by what they are seeing here. Which eliminates some built-in customers who would love some good Cuban food. I’m still going to try it regardless.

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  • Chuck Davis said:

    The food’s OK, but……………

    Ropa Vieja was more like a soup than a stew.

    The flan is a wedge of something resembling tapioca cheesecake, and doesn’t resemble real Cuban flan in any way.

    The don’t even make real cafe cubano. They use “press a button on a machine” standard expresso and then add some sort of syrup. Luckily I didn’t have to endure this sacrilege, since the machine was broken.

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    TSQ75 replies on July 12th, 2009 at 9:05 am:

    I noticed on the menu that a Cafe Cubano is $3. $3 for a little demitasse of sweetened expresso!!! That’s INSANE!

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    Liz Wing replies on July 20th, 2009 at 12:33 pm:

    We tried the restaurant yesterday in anticipation of trying the benchmark Cuban sandwich and ropa.

    I got the Cuban with a side of rice and beans. The Cuban was unexceptional and the rice and beans were barely warm. The waitress declined to bring me some diced onion and lime for my rice and beans. What sort of eating establishment is this?

    My husband ordered the ropa vieja platter. Now ropa is a meat dish, but his rice was covered with what amounted to a tablespoon of watery beef stew! I asked the waitress if that’s how they usually served it. To her credit, she said No and brought over a small bowl of ropa.

    Cuban Revolution will have to improve before we’ll go back again. There are just too many other good places to eat in Durham.

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    JohnforAmerica replies on July 28th, 2009 at 11:40 am:

    Cafe con leche for $3?! Give me a break! In Miami, I could get that AND a pastelito for less!

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  • Milano said:

    Seems like a few folks here have their political noses bent out of shape and can’t be honest regarding the food at TCR. (It’s awesome)…I had the cuban sandwich and it’s the best i’ve had in quite a while (trust me, most of the ones i’ve had in Miami are unedible, even tho they are made by “real cubans” whatever that means). The flan i had was perfect and obviously homemade. BTW, try the ropa vieja (it was excellent) or the cheese and pepper sandwich (my boyfriend had it and it was mind-blowing). The wait for food is a a bit long (seems like they are still working out some kitchen issues) but all in all, it’s a lively, fun place and TCR is a very welcome addition to the local scene (and i am not some liberal nut).

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    TSQ75 replies on July 12th, 2009 at 11:14 am:

    I guess we’ve just had different Cuban food in our lives and will have to disagree. : )

    I’m more offended by the over the top prices for food that is, at its core, Peasant food. Having grown up eating primarily Cuban food, I still have to laugh when people call it “cuisine.” I feel like it takes advantage of people who want to try real food but dont know what to expect, so they’ll pay whatever, and think the wild decor and thematics will make up for it.

    there’s 2 types of people, people that want true representations of food, and people that just want food. That’s OK. I think people seeking out an authentic, homestyle and satisfying meal will know this isnt the place. but it holds an adequate place for entertaining friends or just getting some “fusion” Cuban food

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    mary replies on July 18th, 2009 at 2:44 pm:

    i do not know what is your experience with cuban food and i have to respect that..however, if you want to really know cuban food please, do not get confused, dthis is not real cuban food!

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  • DurhamiteGK said:

    Go to Carmen’s on Airport Blvd. It’s close enough to Durham. Good food and drinks. Great dancing. But I really want to like this Cuban Revolution place–Durham could use it–and I’ll check it out.

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  • JustJames said:

    I liked it! The food was tasty and the service was friendly and attentive (even apologizing for the messiness of a table next to us). The cuban sandwich was better than I’ve had at most places in the triangle (ain’t nobody’s better than Abuela’s in Long Beach!)and the croquetas were delicious. Did someone suggest Carmen’s instead? Please! Only Oakwood Cafe can be a better recommendation at this early point in time for this spunky little place. It is so funny to hear the expectations of so many commenters: ‘but it wasn’t spectacular, didn’t blow my head off’. Really? Let this little dig get going before you snob it down. Definitely worth a try, I’m going to go back again and again. Viva La Cuban Revolution!

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  • ACW said:

    (anyone else think the sign looks like a Texaco station??)

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    mary replies on July 18th, 2009 at 2:42 pm:

    meeeeee….meeeeeeeeee…i also think the sign looks like a Texaco station..hahahahhaa…very good ACW!

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  • Crobar said:

    1) Ignore any admonishments about “leftist propaganda”. It’s just “Che-on-a-T+shirt” marketing trying to be edgy and provocative (come on, Marilyn Monroe is on the wall!).

    2) The menu is weirdly schizophrenic.

    3) If you want real Cuban food, you won’t get it here.

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  • Angela said:

    If anyone here is suggesting Carmen’s for “authentic” Cuban food, they have got to be kidding. Cuban Revolution is a great place. Been there twice and will def go again and again. The sandwiches we have had were tasty and more than filling. And they have awesome Red Velvet Cake (OMG, I know it’s not Cuban, and so what!!! It reminded me of the cake my grandmother made).

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  • Tooth said:

    Regarding Carmen’s Cuban Cafe:

    http://www.indyweek.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A158783

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  • TSQ75 said:

    I was going to say, if Carmen’s isnt authentic, then I really cant say what is…

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  • DR Durham said:

    I can not eat at a place that serves a “Fidel” sandwich. Thoughs of you that can should eat your sandwich in Cuba. If you can, since the revolution has rationalized the food…
    BTW, eat at Havana Grill in Cary. That is real Cuban food.

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  • mary said:

    food ok if you want just food to eat. not a good representation of what real cuban food is. too controversial to be a quite place to go and have a nice dinner. service was not what i expected either. did not feel the warm that the cuban culture brings with it and that one is looking for when going to a “cuban restaurant”. i say, if one just want food perhaps, and i say perhaps because the prices are high for “just food” and “mediocre” service…if you want cuban food or/ and a “taste of cuba” this will be the wrong place to be…just my personal opinion…thank you for the opportunity to allow me to post it.

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  • L. said:

    I agree, and this isn’t to be petty: the menu layout and design is horrible. It’s just plain hard to find what you’re looking for which is not what you want in a menu when you’re hungry. I think they were going for funky but it was just confusing and hard on the eyes.

    As for the atmosphere, that was nice. I’m not big on pop art, but who cares. If you can, go for the outdoor seating in the evening. That was the best part.

    Finally, the food: The menu is not authentic Cuban food. I ordered crab cakes with remoulade, fried green beans (served with remoulade) and plantains with sour cream. (I don’t know a lot about Cuban food, but plantains aside, does that sound Cuban?) My date had beans and rice and plantains. Neither of us were impressed with our food, aside from the plantains which were very sweet and carmelized and crispy on the edges. A bowl of rice & beans is pretty straight foward but my date wasn’t enthused. As for my dishes, the crab cakes (about two inches diameter) were deep fried (but disappointingly mushy in the middle) and the green beans were battered and deep fried (sort of like onion rings), and they were greasy rather than tasty. The remoulade was good. The service wasn’t bad, but overall, the food (Cuban or not) was disappointing.

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  • bernie said:

    Stopped by for a weekday lunch to try the Sandwich Cubano. I ordered “The Fidel”, the Cuban Sandwich served with black beans and rice. The sandwich wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great (as per several other reviews). I was surprised that it was prepared with mayo (on a Cuban?), but I must admit that it clearly indicated the presence of mayo on the menu. The black beans and rice were quite tasty, not soupy, and wonderfully spiced.

    I enjoyed the pop art tribute to gritty revolutionaries and was happy to have missed a busy (noisier) period of the day. Service was quick and pleasant and our server was attentive. Oh, not a fan of the menu setup.

    I’ll be interested in returning after several months and hope that the “Cuban” kicks in on this Cuban eatery.

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  • Littleberry said:

    Would have been nice if the wooden bench under my ass had a cushion.
    We’re from Miami and while not Cuban, have enjoyed Cuban food most of our lives.
    I’ve NEVER in my nearly 60 years had a Cuban sandwich with mayo and salami. Such should not be permitted. We saw the ingredients on the totally bizarre menu and so didn’t order it.
    I had the Ropa Vieja. The white rice was cooked quite well and had great texture and flavor though the beef and veggies were somewhat sparse in quantity and actually pretty bland… not at all spicy like the menu touted. I would be surprised to learn that the vegetables in the “stew” weren’t frozen. Fresh and flavorful veggies ain’t that tough around here. The bread was well rendered.
    My wife had the pork Havana Platter. She claimed the pork to be adequate if somewhat salty and benefited from the mojo soak. The black beans brought back some good memories of Miami and she cleaned up on that.
    Beer selection is inadequate and the service was ok… attentive without being pushy.
    Those that would be offended by the decor should get a life. They’re not selling anything political, it’s a restaurant for Pete’s sake. Having grown up in Miami in the 50′s and 60′s, we actually found it a bit nostalgic. I think I’ve seen the originals of some of those newsreels they were running on the TV’s.
    Overall, not a bad experience but they’ve got a long way to go.
    That hard bench on the north wall still bugs me.
    And where’s the window in the wall with Grandma serving up café con leché?

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  • Jenny said:

    I went once and thought the service was tepid and the sangria weak. But this is a very concerning story I saw posted on Facebook. If true, this is definitely not a restaurant I want to support:

    On Wednesday night, a group of about 20-30 young African American professionals met up at Cuban Revolution in Durham to network, socialize, and enjoy some food and drinks. An agreement had been made with an owner of the restaurant prior to this event that since the restaurant was going to be open, it was fine that the group members “come and go” according to their own schedules. And we did just that, some dropped in, some stayed awhile, many of us ordered food and drinks from the bar. Some of us paid our tab early because a server’s shift was over and he wanted to close out the register, maybe a little rude to rush us in this manner, but no problem, we obliged. The conversation was great, graduate students, attorneys, entrepreneurs, business folks, lots of connections were made that evening. Sure, it was annoying that when someone got out of their seat to go meet another person or use the restroom, the waitress would inquire if they were leaving and emphasize they hadn’t paid their tab…seriously? We all left, acknowledging it was a pretty good evening…and then comes the craziness.

    The next morning, the organizer of our event received a phone call from one of the owner’s of Cuban Revolution and the dialogue was as follows:
    ——————————————————————————————————————————-
    Let me be very frank with you, I did not like your crowd last night. They were very rude and didn’t buy enough food. They were rude to my staff. We don’t do events like that. I had told you so and thought you understood, but if you ever come to my restaurant again, I will have you arrested for trespassing.” “Excuse me?”, I inserted.

    “I don’t understand”, I explained.

    The owner closed, “Listen, you don’t have to understand! You and your friends are not welcome at my restaurant. If you ever do, I will have you arrested for trespassing. It is private property. That’s it.”

    And, as I was saying ok, “he hung up.

    —————————————————————————————————————————–

    Now, I consider myself to be a pretty fair person when it comes to acknowledging inappropriate, rude behavior, and those who know me well know that I am not afraid to call somebody out for it, so believe me when I say, there was none coming that night from the members of our group. I’m not sure what he meant by “enough” food, but I do know that the majority of people in attendance ordered something. I also know that there was nobody waiting for a table at the restaurant and that the restaurant would have been empty if we had not been there. Again, I understand as servers you want to turn your tables over fairly quickly to increase sales and tips, but like I said, no one was waiting for a table.

    The choice of words, the tone of the conversation, and the threats from the owner of Cuban Revolution was totally unjustified. If he was unhappy with something, there were so many other ways he could have addressed it. I hope that you will take a moment and consider the happenings and come to your own conclusions about why something of this nature might have occurred. Personally, I think it was motivated by the fact that we were all black.

    I hate that the situation happened, but I also believe good can come from any negativity. I know that people experience instances of discrimination, racism, sexism, homophobia, bullying, etc on a daily basis and I hope that through sharing with one another we can all be more informed that instances like this do continue to happen, that we all ask ourselves what is our role in this and what can we do to make our voice heard if we do not agree with it, and that we take a stand and not support organizations, businesses, etc. who choose to treat other people in a disrespectful manner based on, in this instance, the color of our skin.

    I hope you all will share the story with folks you know, and to be quite honest, I hope Cuban Revolution feels the power of community activism and notices a decline in their business as a result of the incident. Several follow up contact attempts to the owner have been made with no response. They have had ample opportunity to engage in conversation about this, to explain what they meant by their poor choice of words, and they have chosen not to.

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    New Guy replies on November 25th, 2009 at 11:03 am:

    Was this column written by Al Sharpton? You are almost as annoying as he is. You seem to be a very well educated man, but just because of the “color of your skin,” really? The race card does not have to be played here. You had a large group of people coming and going as they pleased. The reason that the server kept inquiring wasn’t because you were black, it was because that money MUST come out of her/his pocket if someone does walk out. I agree that by the sounds of things, for a party of that size, things probably could have been handled a little better. But for you to ask for the help of the community to almost abolish this restaurant is ridiculous. This is a new restaurant with proven owners, it isn’t easy to start up a different restaurant in an already established` restaurant scene. Give them a break and another try, and don’t be so quick to judge. I am sure that things will get worked out. I have worked in the restaurant business my whole life, and I know that it takes a little bit to get “all of your ducks in a row.” With this theme and that bar they have, there is no was that they don’t succeed.

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    P replies on March 19th, 2010 at 6:11 pm:

    I used to work in both of the providence restaurants. If you think Ed morabito treated you poorly, talk to anyone in providence. He can’t buy a staff because of his attitude. He would fire and rehire us constantly, claimed to have us arrested if we quit and many more much worse things. Did I mention that he used to work for Reagan? Ed is a sad, angry little man, and no one goes to his restaurants in providence, the reputation precedes them. And the ropa vieja used to come in froZen Goya dinners, we’d break off the rice and microwave the stew for the customers.

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  • Anonymous said:

    I think it would be prudent that both sides of the story were heard before anyone went about believing a story such as this

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  • Brooke said:

    CR was merely OK. The Cuban Snadwich was decent. I’ve had better. All the food sampled by our party lacked the spice and originality typical of Cuban cuisine. I also felt the the price was high for the quality. While it seems they have added some variety to the beer selection, a domestic draft was $7.00. If you crave the ambience of the American Tobacco Campus, I would recommend other restaurants.

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  • Gary said:

    Covered in Bull City Rising today–

    http://www.bullcityrising.com/2009/07/cuban-revolution-faces-social-media-buzz-tumult-over-one-groups-experience.html#more

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    Misty replies on July 29th, 2009 at 3:24 pm:

    Hope these two guys meet up and resolve their differences. I would like to know the outcome before I chose to give them my business again.

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  • HAHA said:

    Barack needs to have CJ and Morabito over for a beer!

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    TSQ75 replies on July 30th, 2009 at 5:02 pm:

    HA

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  • Emily said:

    We tried CR and had a similar experience to most; the food was fine but not great and the waitress was OK. However, we had a problem with our bill – they initially put someone else’s order on it – so it had to be re-run. Then, the charge to our bank account was incorrect. The manager has not returned my phone call and we will not be going back.

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  • PYT said:

    I visited CR today, and was rather excited. The waitress said the steak sandwich was good. It was. The bread was de-lish. However, I realized I asked the waitress her suggestion because the menu gives you print OVERLOAD. If you like hype with your food, go. If you’re looking for authentic Cuban…keep ‘searchin.

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  • jeremy said:

    My roommate and I went to CR last night, and our experience was damn near dreadful. The food was ok at best. (He agrees that the wrap needed sauce, as it was terribly dry.) My Cuban sandwich was not worth what I paid for it, and the teensy cup of beans and corn wasn’t even good enough to have included it. Our sweet potato fries were pretty good, but definitely needed some accouterments to help them out. The beer selection was definitely sad, and certainly expensive.

    The most disappointing factor, however, was the service. We were the only table our waiter had, and he nary looked over in our direction, let alone checked on us to see if he could bring us more beers or to see if we needed anything. As someone who has worked in plenty of restaurants, I know the dude wasn’t busy. We were one of 4 tables in there at the time, and a non-needy 2 top shouldn’t be a hassle. I had to ask the manager for our check, and that even seemed to be an ordeal.

    Overall, if this place wants to do well, they had better up their game. As it stands, I give CR a solid C-, and won’t be back there to dine again any time soon.

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  • Barbara said:

    I told a Cuban friend of mine about this place – the name, the glorification of Che – and she was outraged. She said she can’t believe the local Cuban community isn’t making a lot of noise about this place and it must be that there is no local Cuban community. It really is quite offensive except to those who have jumped on the trendy Che bandwagon. I would never expect a Cuban restaurant to go this route. I haven’t eaten there (and won’t because of this) but since the food isn’t even good (according to reports) I suspect it won’t be around long.

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  • Beth1 said:

    First visit today and not so impressed. Our waitress was very nice but overwhelmed. The same person should not be busing tables and serving at the same time – that is the number one grossest thing in my book.

    Our food took almost an hour to come out. Husband had the Cuban sandwich and said it was good. I had the chicken empanada which was greasy, the black beans and rice, which was good and plentiful, but the plate only came with two small fried plantains. It was very loud, too loud to carry on a conversation.

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  • Rich said:

    Food was OK, service was poor. We had 7:30 tickets to DPAC so I called to inquire when we should arrive in order to safely make our DPAC performance. They said 6 pm or even as late as 6:30. Arrived at 6 PM, drinks came out quickly, two of six orders came out on time, four delayed until 7:15. Ate dinner in 5 minutes. Hostess told us kitchen get’s backed up after 6 pm and we should have allowed 2 hours (like it was our fault)!! They did take 20% off check but I will not be back to this place. Cuban sandwich was fine.

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  • Anna said:

    Finally tried CR tonight and was disappointed. The service was fine. The food was fine but overpriced. If I had to go back I would, but if I had a choice I wouldn’t. I cannot imagine this place staying in business very long. It is truly unexceptional.

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  • MEZ said:

    I added my review over at my blog today. Overall, the food was okay, with some standouts (Manchego cheese with quince jam-type stuff) and some disappointments (tres leches cake, cafe cubano). I enjoyed the food more than I didn’t,and will probably be back to try and entree sometime. We just did tapas. Anyone know if their style of plantains is more traditional or not? It was the first time I’ve had breaded plantains and I didn’t particularly like them but a friend did.

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  • Jen said:

    Haven’t tried CR yet, and don’t think I will based on the reviews. Having lived in Miami for 20 years and married to a Cuban, I’ve eaten some wonderful, authentic Cuban food and it sounds like CR would be a disappointment. I can tell you that the Cuban sandwich at City Beverage/Lava Lounge is quite good – Cuban bread or no Cuban bread; it’s very respectable and entirely satisfying. Quite to my surprise, I had a Cuban sandwich at Cheesecake Factory last week and it was delish – very, very good – as close to perfect as one could ask for. Just thought I’d add my 2 cents.

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  • tipperary said:

    The food is decent, but it’s not even in the realm of authentic Cuban food. The Cuban Sandwich shop in the Northgate food court has much more authentic food (and cheaper).

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  • BJ said:

    Why would anyone eat here? Obviously, they have something going for them, like location, because they have been open for a while. But that doesn’t forgive the fact that in a town of great food, they are at the very bottom of in terms of creativity and local sustainable ingredients. Have you seen their sanitation score? 97, which is really an 95. Toxic chemicals found unlabeled? Sanitizer not at the proper levels? Eat here at your own risk

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    JBlink replies on May 31st, 2011 at 12:37 am:

    Wow, complaining about a restaurant getting a 97 on a sanitation report is rather petty and hysterical even for the most petty and hysterical of foodies (and we all know the type).

    Having said that I’ve eaten at Cuban Revolution only once and disliked the food enough to not want to go back. I’ve heard their tapas menu is better, but…meh.

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  • Lourdes said:

    I was excited to find a Cuban Restaurant here in Durham after moving up here from Miami two years ago. I asked my local friends about it and they all said the same thing. The food was awful and overpriced. I had to check it out for myself. I walked in saw the enormous pictures of Che and Fidel and turned right back out. What sick communist would hang these pictures of murderers in a Cuban Restaurant? I’m Cuban and those two animals do not represent me or my people. I went online and looked at the menu, there was nothing authentic on it. And when I looked for an icon to contact them, the coward who owns this place has no such icon.

    Out of respect for my parents, I will never step foot in there again, too bad, the location is ideal and after reading several reviews about how terrible the food and service is I can only imagine the owner has a lot of money to throw away. What a waste. I guess when I want good Cuban Food, I’m gonna have to make it myself.

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    ernesto replies on August 20th, 2011 at 12:41 pm:

    Do not despair, there are more choices! Try the Old Havana Sandwich Shop at 310 East Main St. in downtown Durham and Carmen’s Cuban Cafe near the Morrisville Outlet Mall (take I-40 east to exit 284A, turn right on Airport Blvd and make the first right, the restaurant is on the right in about 0.2 miles.

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    Tooth replies on August 20th, 2011 at 3:00 pm:

    I vouch for Carmen’s Cuban Cafe in Morrisville and will add the suggestion of Havana Grill in Cary. Here’s a link to a really cool article about Carmen’s from a few years ago:

    http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/carmens-cuban-cafe-dance-the-calories-away/Content?oid=1203296

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    ernesto replies on September 14th, 2011 at 3:24 pm:

    The Buzz column in today’s Herald Sun notes that a new Cuban restaurant in Durham will open tomorrow – Gregoria’s Kitchen at 2818 Chapel Hill Road (in the location long occupied by The Peddler steakhouse) – http://www.gregoriaskitchen.com

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  • Lourdes said:

    Thanks for the suggestions! I’ll have to check them out!

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  • Russian Revolution - Революция в России said:

    Russian Revolution – Революция в России…

    [...]Cuban Revolution | Carpe Durham[...]…

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