FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The locally-owned Caliente Cuban Cafe will open a second restaurant at 120 West Wayne Street. It is the same location that has been occupied by Toscani Pizzeria for more than a decade.
Toscani Pizzeria announced on Facebook the business will close its doors June 10. The restaurant was a mainstay downtown when there wasn’t much to do there. The general manager did not want to go into details but told Newschannel 15 this closure is only temporary and they hope to reopen in a new location.
Gus Rodriguez, owner of Caliente, is a Cuban refugee who moved to the United States in 2000. He opened the restaurant in 2009 and said it was the first Cuban restaurant in Fort Wayne.
“Some people have traveled to Cuba and they say our food is comparable,” said Rodriguez. “We are a family restaurant. I work with my wife, my children, my cousin.”
The Rodriguez family has been serving up authentic Cuban cuisine and pride themselves on having “the best Cuban sandwich in town,” according to Gus Rodriguez. The newest restaurant will be located in one of downtown’s most popular areas.
Nestor Rodriguez, who is the son of Gus Rodriguez, has been instrumental in the process of opening a second location. The older Rodriguez said eventually his son will run the second Caliente.
“I remember being a sophomore in high school and helping paint these walls,” said Nestor Rodriguez. “So it’s awesome to see it go from nothing to having two locations. The sky is the limit.”
The younger Rodriguez said one thing that will never change about the new restaurant is the family atmosphere.
“[It will have] the same mom and pop feel,” he said. “The same home cooked meals and the freshness that you taste in the food that you eat everyday here at Caliente.”
The new restaurant will not be as casual as the first. Rodriguez said patrons should expect to be seated by a hostess and waited on by a server. The family plans to add more dishes to the menu, while keeping the favorites.
“I’ll be cooking there with my wife,” said Gus Rodriguez. “So it will be the same good people.”
The Rodriguez family plans to open the new restaurant on July 1. The original Caliente will remain open on East State Boulevard.