Miami – The popular Versailles restaurant, nerve center of Miami's Cuban exile community, is currently celebrating its 40 years as a bastion of the island's succulent cuisine.
The Little Havana institution is now more than ever the go-to place for dishes that embody the robust personality of Cuban cooking in surroundings where anti-Castro gossip abounds.
Figures from politics, showbiz and even heads of state have come here to savor the hearty portions of roast suckling pig, oxtail, croquettes, shredded beef, fried kingfish and the popular black bean soup.
Versailles has also become an indispensable stop for politicians looking for votes at election time, a highly visible place to demonstrate their understanding and friendship for the Cuban-American community in Miami and its culture.
To suitably observe the anniversary, the Valls family, owner of the establishment, has organized a series of events for Tuesday to celebrate with the restaurant's devotees its four decades of good eats and island memories.
But the prices on the menu for the big fiesta will be the same that the restaurant has charged for 40 years, an executive of The Valls Group told Efe.
Under the leadership of 78-year-old Felipe Valls, who together with his son runs the restaurant and other establishments including La Carreta and Casa Juancho, the restaurant's menu has remained faithful to the category of traditional Cuban cooking.
At the same time, they've expanded the establishment with a new bakery operated by its own team with modern cake-baking appliances.
Versailles has become the No. 1 meeting place for Cubans in Miami, the place friends get together to share memories and emotions in an atmosphere reflected in the tall and somewhat kitsch mirrors imitating those of the original Palace of Versailles, for which its visitors today have an inordinate affection.