Local restaurateurs Nick and Alison Schaffer, along with decorated Tucson chef Janet Balderas and sous chef and native Cuban Patricia Espinosa, are gearing up for the Mojo Cuban Kitchen & Rum Bar’s debut.
The tastes, sounds, and atmosphere of Havana will be on full display and open to the public beginning on Sunday, October 30.
Over the past few months, the restaurant located at 1929 E. Grant Rd. has been renovating the former Viva El Caribe Restaurant & Lounge spot near Campbell Avenue. The corner is becoming a hot spot for delicious bites with the long-standing Upper Crust Pizza and the newly reopened Karuna’s Thai Plate.
Mojo, which is pronounced mo-ho and means “Caribbean garlic sauce” in Spanish, will be serving up a menu that’s a nod to Cuban culinary traditions, but expect to get a taste of some modern expressions on your plate, too.
The official menu has yet to be released but you can bet on finding a line-up of Cuban comforts like ropa vieja, empanadas, fried yuca, mojo chicken, and the quintessential Cubano sandwich.
“With my family’s background, our love of Cuban food, culture, and traditions, and the opportunity to respectfully build this concept in one of Southern Arizona’s treasured historic neighborhoods, we felt that this was the perfect time and place to launch our new business, one that will transport our guests from midtown Tucson to the heart of Havana,” said Nick Schaffer, co-owner of Mojo Cuban Kitchen.
At the full-service bar, prepare yourself for a collection of rums designed both for sipping and mixing up traditional cocktails. Mojitos, Cuba Libres, Piña Coladas, and Daquiris — all drinks Ernest Hemingway would’ve enjoyed while living near Havana.
The hours of operation have yet to be determined but expect an announcement soon.