Second Location Announced for “Labor of Love” Restaurant The Cuban Empanada

The Cuban Empanada & Fry Bar, located at 7901 N Armenia Avenue in Tampa, has been selling empanadas, sandwiches, and other dishes since 2022. Its typical Cuban sandwich is available not just in a vegan version (with jackfruit replacing the roast pig), but also as an empanada, which earned the company second place at the Cuban Sandwich Festival.

The Cuban Empanada is set to expand with The Cuban Empanada & Fry Bar Cafe, which will open at 5411 Beaumont Center Boulevard #705. According to owner Norma Bedell, the new café will provide more salads and sandwiches, as well as a variety of coffee options, including cold brew and nitro.

Second Location Announced for "Labor of Love" Restaurant The Cuban Empanada

“We’re a Cuban restaurant inspired by my Dad, Juan Antonio,” Bedell told What Now on Wednesday. Juan Antonio is the inspiration behind the brand’s mascot, Juan A. Empanada. “My daughter Jamie sketched him based on my description, wearing a typical Cuban blouse. The entire restaurant is influenced by Cuba, my father, the traditions he taught me, and Cuban food, which I include in everything I create.”

The brand’s initial mom-and-pop business on Armenia Avenue was a “labor of love” created by Norma and her husband David, a long-time resource officer in a nearby school system. Bedell said David worked hard to develop the Armenia Avenue property. Tragically, he fell ill shortly after the opening and died. The family restaurant he left behind lives on in his memories.

“He always said he knew it would be successful,” Bedell recalled. “And now here were are, getting ready to open our second location.”

That location will have a decor similar to The Cuban Empanada’s original location, with a few added elements, such as a photo-ready seat constructed from the back half of an ancient automobile. There will be seating both inside and outside.

The family business’s new facility on Hillsborough Boulevard will open soon. To stay up to date on Cuban Empanada happenings, follow @thecubanempanada on Instagram.

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