Opening a restaurant was always a dream for Lisetty Llampalla and Justin Sherrer. With the launch of Doce Provisions in Little Havana, that dream has officially come true.
"When I came here from Cuba, I never thought I'd be a chef," Llampalla says. "I started out working in a kitchen, and now I'm here. It's really fun to be involved in food and have the chance to make something different."
Llampalla, who left Cuba about eight years ago, moved to Miami and began working in the kitchen at CinéBistro in Dolphin Mall, where she met Sherrer, a chef at the movie theater eatery. About two months ago, the duo opened Doce Provisions (541 SW 12th Ave., Miami) in the former Little Bread space. Sherrer still runs the kitchen at CinéBistro, saying Llampalla mainly runs their current venture.
"She's handling it really well," Sherrer says. "We've gotten really good reviews and feedback so far."
The two describe the restaurant as Cuban-American, fusing the two flavors into a gastropub environment. "It's locally sourced gastropub serving Cuban comfort food," Sherrer says. "The menu is very Miami. I like to make things that I would eat. Not superfancy and not supercrazy."
"It has a lot to do with my culture and heritage too," Llampalla adds. "I wanted to bring different food that all people can try."
The best way to describe the restaurant is "unpretentious." There are about five tables inside and seven outside. The menu is small too, featuring Cuban-American mashups, along with a smattering of comfort-food-inspired plates. Prices range from $4 to $25, with most plates averaging $8 to $10.
The crispy Brussels ($6) are one of the restaurant's bestselling items, Sherrer says. The plate is blended with cauliflower, Miami Smokers bacon, and a sweet soy sauce. The chorizo croquettes with mostaza ($5), shrimp po'boy taco topped with Cuban sriracha mayo ($7.50), and the short-rib burger drizzled with queso frito and truffle aioli ($10) are also favorites.
"We're trying to be a restaurant for locals and chefs alike to enjoy good food," Sherrer says. "It's not superfancy, but we're also not dumbing down our dishes either."
The pair was in the running for A+E's restaurant competition, where a concept would be awarded a space at the Filling Station Lofts. Though Doce Provisions didn't win, Sherrer describes it as a "kick in the butt."
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"It really encouraged us to come up with something concrete," he says. "When I found out Alberto Cabrera was leaving Little Bread, we knew we had to jump on it. I was a regular at that place and just thought the space was perfect."
"I also like the area because it has a lot to do with where I'm from," Llampalla says. "It's very artsy."
"I just love that we're in the armpit of Little Havana," he adds. "You can come here and get a badass burger cooked onsite using local ingredients without Wynwood prices. It's daily eats for families and people in the area."