"Opening Cuba Cuba as a 23-year-old punk and creating something that, even after ten years, people still enjoy, is my biggest accomplishment," said Enrique Socarras, the executive chef of Cuba Cuba, when I interviewed him earlier this year. Socarras and his sister, Kristy, opened Cuba Cuba in 2001, and while Socarras initially intended to hang around just long enough to get the Cuban restaurant up and running, he liked it too much to leave, and, now, a decade later, he and Kristy have expanded their Cuban roots to Boulder, where they just opened, late last week, Cuba Cuba Sandwicheria.
"We've been wanting to expand for two, nearly three years, and we looked at spaces in the Tech Center and Boulder, and decided that Boulder was the hot, fun, new place where we wanted to be," says Socarras, adding that he and Kristy had to fight -- hard -- for the space. "We definitely went for it, and we're glad we did, because so far, things are really good, and we're getting nice little crush every day."
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The sandwicheria, a fast-casual spin-off of Cuba Cuba, is designed, explains Socarras, to compete for hungry mouths to feed during the day. "We're fast-casual, and we're fast-paced, and that's deliberate, because we want to be competitive with places like Chipotle, where we can get people in and out for lunch in thirty minutes -- in time to get back to work," he says.
His menu, a scrubbed down version of the board at Cuba Cuba, parades sandwiches, Cuban rice bowls, and sides, like sweet plantains, black beans and yuca chips. "Everything on the menu has, at one time or another, been on the Cuba Cuba menu," notes Socarras, with the sole exception of the Boulder Cuban, which he calls "his playful vegetarian take" on the traditional Cuban sandwich. "It's Boulder...it was important to do a vegetarian sandwich -- and this is a great one," he promises.
The sandwicheria, located in the Village Shopping Center, 2525 Arapahoe, is open from 11 a.m. to 9 pm. daily; call 303-442-1143 for more details.