"I didn't see her as a woman, really, but as someone who could help me," Galindo recalls. They were married months later, but Galindo filed for divorce after less than a year. He now says he was betrayed by a close friend who set him up with Espinosa, only to have her suck him dry.

"She was totally in it for the money," Galindo says. "It was a disaster. She tried to control me completely. When I had a nervous breakdown and went to the hospital, she tried to take over my business by firing people and taking cash out of the registers."

During the 2002 divorce proceedings, Galindo claimed Espinosa routinely took thousands of dollars out of his three restaurants. She denied it, countering that she spent her own money trying to salvage the businesses and that Galindo dropped the divorce.

Raúl Galindo, once the Cuban sandwich king of Miami, at his soon-to-open restaurant in east Little Havana.
Michael E. Miller
Raúl Galindo, once the Cuban sandwich king of Miami, at his soon-to-open restaurant in east Little Havana.

Instead, she was the one who divorced Galindo in 2006. Espinosa claimed he had been making $300,000 a month at each of his three remaining restaurants, kept six personal safes around town, and often spent lavishly on hotels and dinners with other women. "He had a severe gambling problem," she adds now.

By the time they divorced, Galindo's restaurants were already saddled with hundreds of thousand of dollars in unpaid debts, including a 2004 class-action lawsuit against the restaurateur for underpaying his employees. By 2007, Galindo didn't have the money to keep his lease on his last restaurant in Hialeah. It was demolished to make room for a high-rise, and the reign of the Cuban sandwich king was over.

"There was nothing left by that point," Espinosa says. "Nothing. And the land that was left, I had to sell to pay all of his bills, including liens for hundreds of thousands of dollars to vendors and the IRS." Indeed, records show Espinosa paid off dozens of claims on the Coral Way restaurant while staving off foreclosure. She finally sold the property, which had been leveled by Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in 2005, for $1.6 million last year.

The divorce left Galindo with $30 and a 1997 Lincoln Town Car. Robert Quintero, one of Galindo's new business partners, says that when he first bumped into Galindo in a Little Havana pharmacy, the old man was staying with relatives and didn't have enough money to buy his own prescriptions.

 "For a while there, he was on top of the mountain," says Alex Falmán, owner of Latin American Bayside Café, one of the restaurants Galindo sued in the early '90s over its name. "But he spread himself out too thin and started losing control of the restaurants, owing money to one vendor after another."

Galindo has a different explanation for his downfall. "Never divide what you have," he warns, referring to his two marriages. "Everything that is divided, falls. You let people in the door, and they tear the place down."

His problems aren't over yet, however. A recent restaurant venture fell apart when Espinosa, who won the rights to the name Latin American in the divorce, showed up, demanding a slice of the profits at Latin American Brickell in downtown Miami. The owners cut Galindo out rather than pay his ex-wife. Now Espinosa says she plans to go after Galindo's new restaurant in Little Havana.

Yet standing in the entryway of what he hopes is the first of a series of new restaurants, Galindo doesn't seem worried. Despite lingering financial trouble and a five-centimeter tear in his aorta that needs surgery, the bon vivant is still enjoying business just as much as when he made his first cubano half a century ago.

"Life is so rich," he says with a grin. "Every time you think you've tasted it all, you stumble across a new flavor."

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8 comments
Zhenglish38
Zhenglish38

Finally (48 hours) time limit to buy.

LV Muffler $ 5.99LV Bags $ 19.9 LV Wallet $ 6.55Armani Glasses $ 5.99LV Belt $ 6.9

Buy addresses---- tntn.usTips (48 hours after the special product is invalid)

megarork
megarork

Hellow!I love your site, it is a pleasure to visit.I have added your site to my site.Please link my site to your site.Thank you!

http://soccerproper.blogspot.c...

私は日本人です。よろしくお願いします。

Stndup9
Stndup9

Why does the won on 57th and the trail still have his name on it.

Robert Francis Quintero
Robert Francis Quintero

Hello Stndup 9,

The reason 57th ave has the name on their sign is because Mr. Raul Galindo had a brother named Luis Galindo. That store belonged to him, but he passed away over 15 years ago and his wife did not know any better when she was a widow and sold the business to the current owner. Lack of better knowledge and disorganization caused the problem, but rest assured that is all going to change very soon.

The only ORIGINAL Galindo's is on 101 SW 12 Ave Miami 33126. It was the former esquina de tejas where Ronald Reagan visited in 1983.

Stay Tuned, Grand Opening is coming soon.

Bon Apetit!

geoffrey
geoffrey

Thanks so much for this informative article. I was a customer at the Coral Way shop for many years and had some first hand experience with persons mentioned in the article. But I lost touch and never knew the "desenlace" or how the tale unfolded. I'm gonna go to the new joint on 12th Ave. & get me one of those sandwiches.

Geoff

Robert Francis Quintero
Robert Francis Quintero

You will always be welcome. Raul will be there and you can experience the real thing.

Thanks Geoff!

Jose
Jose

This guy was the man! The original Latin American was awesome. I really miss it.All the impostors can't come close.Damn gold diggers screw up everything. If it fucks, fly's, or floats - rent it!

Robert Francis Quintero
Robert Francis Quintero

Well said Jose! Raul's pictures are on the windows of the new restaurant to avoid confusion. Spread the good word,

God Bless.

 
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