When Nayelis Delisle came to Miami from Cuba in 2005, she found the city beautiful but lacking one basic need: a Cuban coffee shop.
"I wanted a place where I could sit down and have a Cuban coffee and just a few other items, preferably vegan options," she says. "Not a full restaurant with a ventanita, but a coffee shop with all types of Cuban coffee."
In 2017, she announced to her husband, Manny Lopez, she intended to open a coffee shop. Within a year, they had scrimped and saved enough to open Suite Habana Café in Wynwood. Sunday, September 29, which happens to be National Coffee Day, the petite shop will host a first-anniversary celebration with live music, raffles, and free cafecito.
The coffee shop is designed to feel like one of Cuba's many paladares — homes that also serve as restaurants. The walls are covered with posters from popular Cuban films. Even the café is named for a movie, Delisle says. "The name 'Suite Habana' is taken from a Cuban documentary, a well-known silent color film."
The colorful posters add to the laid-back vibe where comfortable cushioned chairs surround a round coffee table, and faux-brick walls painted antique white prominently display the Suite Habana Café logo. It's the ambiance, friendly service, and local products that attract regulars. After one year in business, the shop still sells only local products. "Seventy-five percent of our clientele are repeat customers," Delisle says.
Suite Habana Café serves a Tu Café roasted blend made locally by the Sapeno family. "We love Tu Café because it's very high-grade Cuban coffee, but it's roasted medium so it's dark and strong but not acidic," Delisle says. "We also make an oat cortado with Cuban coffee and oat milk, which is my personal favorite, and I believe we're the only ones making this type of cortado."
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In addition, the owners are developing a café bombón ice pop made with Suite Habana Café coffee and condensed milk to be sold at Wynwood's Cielito Artisan Pops.
The café also sells local goods such as Zak the Baker croissants and vegan banana bread; overnight oats sourced from a local vendor; organic and gluten-free treats from Courtney's Cookies; empanadas; kombucha from Radiate; tea from JoJo's Tea; and Joi almond milk.
Plus, Suite Habana will offer Rico Bakery pastelitos and is working with the local sightseeing agencies Cycle Party and Wynwood Buggies so their tours will make stops at the café.
Suite Habana Cafe. 2609 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 786-387-9771; facebook.com/suitehabanacafe.