A statement from William Benedit concerning the two H***** Restaurants...
Dear fans of Cuban cuisine:
My father, Guido “Papi” Benedit, opened the Havana Sandwich Shop on Buford Highway in February, 1976. Papi, myself and my older brother Eddie all worked together to bring to Atlanta Cuban recipes from my mother and grandmother’s kitchen. In 1986 I left the sandwich shop to open a garage next door. Over the years, like many immigrant families, various members of our family moved in and out of the restaurant. In 1996 Papi retired leaving Eddie and his wife, Debbie, to run the business. After Eddie’s passing in 2001, Debbie continued to run the sandwich shop with her son Eddie Jr.
Folks grow and things change over time. I moved my garage away from Buford Highway. We were all shocked and saddened when the old Havana Sandwich Shop burned in October, 2008. In January, 2009, my sister in law, Debbie Benedit told the Cherokee Tribune she was joining her son to run the Cuban sandwich shop in Canton Her words were “..we decided to stop feeding strangers in Atlanta and start feeding our neighbors”. I naturally thought they had intended to abandon Atlanta, Buford Highway, and all those strangers.
When my wife was laid off in March, 2009, and returned to work at our automotive shop, I decided to return to the restaurant business, as Cuban sandwiches have become so popular now they are sold in Publix groceries. I knew we could recreate the home style Cuban cooking that was so loved. We incorporated under the name you’ve been seeing, and began to look for a suitable location on Buford Highway.
When we announced our intentions, my sister in law and nephew, Eddie Benedit, Jr. leased space further north on Buford Highway intending to open “Havana 76 Café”. We wished them well. In October, 2009, they put up the new signs saying “Havana Restaurant” right before they opened. As they are the most well known of the old Havana Sandwich Shop, and as my father’s old restaurant had the sign saying “Havana Restaurant”, I happily concede it to them and wish them well. We are not them and they are not us.
So let this talk of the “real” Cuban sandwich shop end. I am my father’s son and refugeed here with the rest of my family. I have as much right as anyone to try to serve you the best Cuban food available. We will be opening in January, 2010 at the entrance on NE Plaza Shopping Center. Let our food do our talking and may the best Cuban sandwich win. We'll keep you posted on the new name!!!
Thank you for your support,
Pros: Authentic Cuban