Havana Grill, a neighborhood favorite since it opened in Clairemont more than five years ago, is building another restaurant that will expand upon its menu of Cuban comfort food. The new location is part of the redevelopment of Michael’s at Westfield Mission Valley that has turned the retail store into additional restaurant real estate. Coming in next to Mediterranean chain Cava and slated to open by December or January, Havana Grill will be housed in a 3,443-square-foot space.
Chef Sandra Cardet, who owns the restaurant with her son and co-founder Alex Guevara, says that the business has been fortunate to experience continued growth despite the pandemic, enabling them to move forward with this expansion. After debating between North County and central San Diego they settled on Mission Valley, where the restaurant will be a less “chain-y” dining alternative for the area.
Offering counter service in an upscale setting with a full bar, the new Havana Grill will carry over its current lunch and dinner menu, which uses grass fed meat and organic produce and includes Cuban classics like arroz con pollo, yucca fries, roasted pork, and ropa vieja, a shredded beef dish.
Cardet tells Eater that she and Alex are most excited to add an in-house bakery, which will bake fresh bread for their popular Cuban sandwiches and feature a large variety of desserts and pastries. The Mission Valley outpost will also have a walk-up window inspired by Miami’s iconic ventanitas that’ll serve Cuban coffee drinks as well as to-go breakfast bites that include empanadas, papas rellenas, and croquettes.
“Havana Grill’s authenticity and quality of Cuban food is truly what makes them stand out,” said Alexis Dachs of Location Matters who represented the restaurant in the lease, “They’re going to bring such a unique offering to Mission Valley, which has been craving more great local operators.”
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