Follow the Leaders: Cuba Cuba Sandwicheria DTC


GIVE US YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH: “Colorful, welcoming, traditional, quaint and laid back”

Cuba Cuba plate
DISHES CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Empanadas, Lechon Asado, Moro Rice, black beans, Maduros. Photo: Chad Chisholm, Custom Creations

What inspired you to open the sandwicheria?
“I’m a Cuban woman living in a city where my culture is not strongly represented,” says Kristy Socarrás Bigelow, owner of Cuba Cuba Cafe and Bar and Cuba Cuba Sandwicheria. “In 2001, I launched my first restaurant—Cuba Cuba Cafe and Bar in Denver— because I was determined to bring a little bit of Cuba here. Ten years later, when I came up for air, I decided to open the fast-casual sandwicheria—a place that was quick and easy for people.”

What makes the DTC sandwicheria different from the other four casual locations?
“There’s always a line out the door during the week. … We also do a lot of large-scale catering for businesses in the area.”

How has the sandwicheria’s food evolved?
“We’ve added more specials from Cuba Cuba Cafe and Bar, including house favorites like the vaca frita and ropa vieja. … We’ve also expanded our liquor program and created happy hour specials. Our DTC location is the only locale that offers happy hour on the weekends.”

Ingredient obsession:
“Limes. We don’t start dinner at my house without a bowl of them on the table; it’s been that way since I was a child.”

Best cocktail to pair with Cuban food:
“Our traditional mojito. Rum is the name of the game in a mojito, and its minty, citrusy taste sets the tone for what’s to come. I’ve paired our mojito with every dish on the menu and learned that it tastes good with everything. I may be biased, but like a good Cuban, I know I’m right.”

Kristy Socarrás Bigelow, owner of Cuba Cuba Cafe and Bar and Cuba Cuba Sandwicheria
Kristy Socarrás Bigelow, owner of Cuba Cuba Cafe and Bar and Cuba Cuba Sandwicheria. Photo: Chad Chisholm, Custom Creations

What’s the key to making a perfect Cubano?
“The mojo marinade, slow-cooking the pork to perfection, real Cuban bread and the mustard and pickles; the mustard and pickles are what make the flavors jump.”

If you could put a Cuban dish on your DTC menu—even if it didn’t sell—what would it be?
“My comfort Cuban plate: fried eggs, Cuban white rice, ham and sweet plantains. It reminds me of my childhood and creates the perfect bite. It’s not on the menu because I’ve always felt it was too simple. That said, every time I prepare the dish for myself at the restaurant someone asks me to make it for them.”

What has been the strangest customer request?
“Splenda in a mojito; that just kills me. Or no mustard or pickles on the Cuban sandwich, which kills me even more.”

What is the staff’s favorite meal?
“Picadillo, the ultimate Cuban comfort food. The ground beef—slow-cooked with red and green peppers, olives, capers, potatoes and onions—is so tasty over white rice, sweet plantains and a fried egg. We don’t add the fried egg at the sandwicherias, but we are happy to do it if you ask.”

Greenwood Village

Two other places to enjoy Latin American dishes

THE FARE: Latin American street food
GOOGLE RATING: 4.7 stars from 121 reviews
TRY IT: Centennial, 720.242.6854

THE FARE: Peruvian plates
GOOGLE RATING: 4.4 stars from 282 reviews
TRY IT: Greenwood Village, 303.484.8712

NEXT: Back to the beginning, at Zeal.