A few years back, Georgia Boy and I took Little Man into a Cuban restaurant for lunch while Angel Baby and Monster Man were at school. It took only a few bites for us to get hooked, and our whole family started becoming regulars at Maraca's Cafe. The food was delicious, and the one-on-one camaraderie between the owners and customers made the experience even that much better. We loved going to Maraca's - for lunch, for dinner, to get platters for parties, to get churros as an after school snack... When friends and family came to visit, we'd take them for a meal at Maraca's rather than opting to eat out at more pricey restaurants. It was within walking distance from our home, and we'd walk to the restaurant at least two times a week. Once we moved, we still continued to drop in about once a week, and we were saddened the day that we showed up to discover that our favorite restaurant had closed its doors.
Since it has been closed, we've often found ourselves craving Cuban sandwiches, madurros, tres leches, and churros (just to name a few of our favorite things). I've tried buying frozen madurros, and they were good, but they just didn't taste as good as I had remembered. My attempt at tres leches went over fairly well, but it still wasn't quite the same. We'd found Cuban sandwiches at other restaurants, but something had always seemed a little off about them. Nothing had matched up to the food and friendship that we found at Maraca's...
Nothing, that is, until we discovered Rey's Cuban Cafe yesterday. Located in Loganville, GA, it's close to an hour drive from our home. We'd happened to be in the area yesterday and decided to stop in for a late lunch/early dinner. We were not disappointed!
Georgia Boy and the kids all ordered Cuban sandwiches, while I opted for the Elena Ruz, a sandwich that I'd enjoyed at Maraca's but had been unable to find elsewhere. Georgia Boy had his sandwich with a side of black beans and rice with mojo sauce. I chose to order madurros as my side item. Madurros are a sweet fried plantain. After ordering my madurros, it finally dawned on me why the frozen madurros just didn't match up. The freshly cooked ones that I had purchased both at Maraca's and at Rey's had been cooked in such a way that they had caramelized around the outsides, increasing the sweetness. We even ordered churros and some tres leches to finish off our meal, sharing bites of our desserts with each other so that we could bring back the memories of the foods we enjoyed so much.
The food wasn't the only great part of eating at Rey's Cuban Cafe. We once again found ourselves in a small restaurant where the owner had that one-on-one interaction with his customers, getting to know what they liked and who they were while sharing about his life in return. It was so nice to be in such a friendly environment, enjoying the food that we loved so much. It was a Cuban restaurant experience at it's finest.
It's a bit of a drive from our house, but it is worth the drive. We'll definitely be stopping in again!
Want to try Rey's but have never had Cuban food before? The owner will be more than happy to help educate you on what each item offered is, helping you decide what to order based on what you like.