TOWN 'N COUNTRY — It's a recent Monday at lunchtime and a hungry crowd files into Tu Sabor Bakery and Café.
Phones ring and to-go orders are received in Spanish, while customers plop down at tables and order up savory Cuban sandwiches with hot and creamy café con leches.
This is just the vision restaurant manager Antonio Mejia pictured when the restaurant moved to its new location just three months ago.
"We decided to move for a bigger restaurant," Mejia said. "Here, we have a real restaurant, a full kitchen."
For the past three years, Tu Sabor had occupied a small storefront on Memorial Highway in Town 'N Country serving up Cuban flavors to construction workers and nearby residents.
Now, Tu Sabor is in a location a few blocks down at 5915 Memorial Highway. And with the move, the restaurant has extended its hours and began serving dinner.
Pollo fricase, chicken and potatoes cooked with sofrito, and pernil, slow-roasted pork with onions and cilantro, are among the finds on the dinner menu. Menu items range from about $2 for Cuban toast with cheese to about $8 for a dinner of ropa vieja.
Each table in the new location is covered in a white tablecloth. Large windows allow plenty of sunshine into the spacious restaurant and Latin jazz sets just the right tone for those looking for an authentic Cuban experience, even if it is just for a lunch break.
In addition to the regular Cuban fare, there are freshly baked pastries, including light, fluffy confections stuffed with guava and queso.
Adding to its Cuban authenticity are Cuban beverages like Iron Beer and Jupina.
"It's a lot more ambience," said Mejia, adding that the restaurant would soon feature an open house and karaoke.
Because the new location is so close to its old one, many of Tu Sabor's regular customers have remained. And others are discovering the location.
"We've had very good business," Mejia said. "We are happy that so many are enjoying it."
Tu Sabor Bakery and Café is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday; 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday; tusaborcafe.com.
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In other Town 'N Country restaurant news, diners will soon have another option for Latin cuisine.
The former Denny's Restaurant that closed last year at 6708 Memorial Highway has been purchased and is being renovated as a Latin cuisine restaurant.
The new restaurant, called the Pacific Coast, will specialize in fresh seafood, according to a news release issued by CBRE's Retail Brokerage Group, the company that organized the sale of the property.
The 4,200-square-foot freestanding building is at the intersection of Hillsborough Avenue and Memorial Highway. There's no set opening date.