Co-Founders Barry Gutin and Larry Cohen are celebrating the much-anticipated opening of their fifth Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar! The newest outpost, which is located at 800 East Las Olas Boulevard (at the corner of SE 8th Avenue) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida opens on Thursday, April 1st at 4 p.m. The restaurant will initially be open for dinner only Monday through Sunday (4 p.m. to 11 p.m.), with bar hours extending to midnight each night, and lunch and brunch beginning in the coming weeks.
“We are very excited to finally be opening our doors after a long year of pandemic-related challenges,” said Barry Gutin, Principal and Co-Founder, Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar. “While the crisis delayed us a bit, we’re now ready to offer South Florida a view through our ‘window’ to the island of Cuba through our delicious, energetic and transportive environment.”
Just as in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Washington DC and Orlando, the culinary program at Cuba Libre Fort Lauderdale will be led by two-time James Beard Award-winning Chef-Partner Guillermo Pernot. While the restaurant’s design will reflect the distinctive Old Havana district, its menus will reflect the cuisine served today in Cuban paladares throughout the island — chef-crafted versions of its traditional cuisine and modern Cuban compositions.
“We serve a mix of robust and soul-satisfying dishes that are flavorful, but rarely spicy,” said Pernot. “Our carefully crafted menu combines beef, poultry, pork and seafood with tropical fruits, root vegetables, herbs and seasonings, creating attractive options for meat eaters and vegetarians alike.”
Cuba Libre Fort Lauderdale will be the fifth location for the brand, which was first opened in 2001 in the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia by Gutin, Cohen and Pernot, followed by Atlantic City, Orlando, and Washington, DC. A sixth Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar is slated to open in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2022.
“We have ensured that this new restaurant will contain a number of pandemic-inspired safety design features including high ceilings at the inside bar and in the main dining room and wide-open storefronts for better ventilation,” added Cohen. “We want our guests to feel safe and comfortable during their experiences with us.”
To that end, the owners organized a 66-page pandemic response manual, which will guide managers once the restaurant opens.
Cuba Libre Fort Lauderdale was designed by Barker Nestor Architecture and thematic designers Artisan Industry of Columbia, Tennessee. The general contractor was RCC Associates of Deerfield Beach.
The interior spans 9,200 square feet with seating for 250 guests (inside & patio). The centerpiece of the restaurant will be its exhibition style wood-burning Latin Grill & Chef’s Counter. To review the menu and learn more, please visit http://www.cubalibrerestaurant.com.
About Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar
Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar opened in Philadelphia in 2000, Atlantic City in 2004, Orlando in 2008 and Washington, D.C. in 2010 to much critical acclaim, providing guests with a passport to Cuba’s intriguing flavors and cuisine. The restaurant’s name, which translates to “a free Cuba,” signifies hope for the future of the treasured island nation. Two-time James Beard Award-winning Chef-Partner Guillermo Pernot’s menus feature tantalizing tastes that reflect Cuba’s culinary traditions, as well as the emerging modern cuisine that he is experiencing during his continuing travels to Cuba. The business is poised for expansion into new markets. Cuba Libre Fort Lauderdale is the company’s fifth location, which will be followed by Cuba Libre San Juan (2022). Principals Barry Gutin and Larry Cohen bring a unique combination of hospitality and expertise to each of their projects and have been partners in the hospitality business since 1995.