Iconic restaurant, center of Cuban life, celebrates 50 years

November 11, 2021 GMT

MIAMI (AP) — An iconic South Florida restaurant that has been an epicenter of the Cuban community celebrated its 50th anniversary this week.

To mark the occasion, the Versailles Restaurant in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood celebrated Wednesday by offering food at 1971 prices. That meant ham croquette for 20 cents, breaded steak for $3.25 and 20-cent Cuban coffee, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Miami Mayor Francis Suárez proclaimed the day as Versailles Day and gave the keys to the city to the Valls family, who have operated the restaurant over three generations. The restaurant has grown from having just a few seats to 300 seats, and it also operates a bakery and take-out window well-known for dispensing hundreds of Cuban coffees a day.

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“First, Versailles is a business that has transcended generations. It has impacted the generation of my grandfather, my father, mine and now my son, and second, it has been the epicenter of the Cuban in exile, of the idea that Cuba will eventually be free and that until that moment we have to fight to achieve it,“ Suárez said. “This is the pride of my community, it is the pride of my city.”

The restaurant is known for being a must-stop for politicians, and among the elected officials who have visited are Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. It often times is a gathering spot for protests against the Cuban government.