Danzon Cubano bringing taste of Cuba to Grand Rapids

"We feel we're unique in the sense that we're bringing a new type of cuisine for people to experience," said Nava, 35.

18 Oct Danzon Cubano bringing taste of Cuba to Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Stefan Nava says Grand Rapids is ready for a taste of Cuba.

And residents will soon be able to find it at his new restaurant, Danzon Cubano, in the city’s Fulton Heights neighborhood that’s slated to open by the end of October.

Inside, customers will find a menu complete with four types of Cuban sandwiches, stews and soups, yuca fries, Cuban paella, and entrees such as “Picadillo a la Cubana,” which features traditional Cuban beef hash in a white wine tomato sauce served with white rice and sweet plantains.

Nava, who works in the tech industry and is making his first foray into the restaurant business, describes the food as a blend of European and Spanish influences, and says the restaurant brings a new twist to the Grand Rapids culinary scene.

“We feel we’re unique in the sense that we’re bringing a new type of cuisine for people to experience,” said Nava, 35. “Grand Rapids hasn’t had anything like this, and so we wanted to introduce it because we believe Grand Rapids is ready.”

The restaurant is located on the ground-floor of Fulton Square, a mixed-use housing and retail development at 1 Carlton Avenue SE. Including its outdoor patio, the restaurant can seat 142 people.

Its centerpiece is a wood bar, some of which was built using repurposed wood from a former barn. Painted above it is the Cuban flag. There’s plans to put a map of the island nation, about 90 miles south of Miami, near the entryway.

Nava estimates he spent about $311,000 renovating the space, and between $50,000 and $60,000 on equipment.

Frank Rodriguez Junior
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