B’s Cuban Restaurant - Closed
1500 Bertha Street
Key West, Florida
Unfortunately B’s Cuban Restaurant on Bertha Street closed shortly after I reviewed it and believe me it is quite disconcerting since it was a regular stop for me. I spoke with the previous owner and she is still looking for someone to buy the place and, if she is successful, she may consider running the restaurant to keep it’s quality and family style in tact. She is the key to the operation and I hope we won’t have to wait much longer. The economic demands of running a business in Key West are intense at best and this operation is just one of many that have succumb to these stresses.
I’m having way too much fun these days at this quite unassuming dining establishment called B’s on Bertha Street just out of the Old town section of the island close to the residential section near the high school. It’s on my way home from where I work, so I find myself going to eat in or take out almost 3 or 4 times a week now. I have to say I find the people who own and operate this restaurant pleasant and genuine. It’s so local that you feel like part of an extended family and they do all they can to ensure you get everything you need.
You might very well pass this one by if all you did was judge the eatery by its façade. A non-descript brick building with an “open” sign lit in the corner window. Just don’t judge this book by its cover. I was always meant to believe that El Siboney on Catherine Street was the premier Cuban food in Key West, and their menu is indeed extremely good and the ambiance a bit more interesting. If food is the main issue, then I am sold out on Bs. I can understand if you’re a visitor that the few extra blocks walk could be potentially disconcerting. I’m saying that it’s worth a cab ride or hopping in the car to enjoy the selection at B’s whether you want breakfast, lunch or dinner. They’re open till 10 pm and, unlike El Siboney, they accept credit cards as well as cash. Parking is readily available.
I have tried everything here from the Cuban mix sandwich with a con leche to the pulled pork with moros (pre-mixed rice with beans) and yucca (a potato-like veggie). The flavors and aroma make me want to go there right now. You can also get local fish or the palomina (flattened steak fried or grilled). Everything is served with Cuban toast, most meals have plantain along for the ride and small side salads are available. You will fill up with these hearty and delicious meal options, but a flan or other rich desert is on the menu too, so leave some room.
I need to say that when I first moved to Key West the one thing that made me feel the most out of place initially was the fact that I was in an environment on U.S. soil, but I heard so little English spoken. I’ve had many cross-cultural experiences, but I haven’t been immersed in one where I didn’t understand the language for such a length of time as this. You embrace it or you relocate. I feel at home with my Cuban friends, their values and cultural richness with emphasis on the food in this instance. B’s Restaurant reflects the best the Cuban community in Key West has to offer and whether you’re a local or visitor they will make you feel at home.
Doug Heyman in Key West
for the Food Reference Website (June, 2004)