Old Havana Sandwich Shop
310 East Main Street
I’ve been twice now to Old Havana Sandwich Shop, and it’s a wonderful choice for lunch or coffee. The owners are always super welcoming and happy to share their offerings of good Cuban sandwiches. I am not a Cuban sandwich traditionalist—if you are, you’ll be horrified to learn that I ordered both my sandwiches without any mustard at all, so don’t count on me to tell you whether this meets your authenticity credentials or not. But it definitely meets my delicious credentials, and that’s all I ask for.
Following the smart choice of many local restaurants and cafes, Old Havana gets their bread from Guglhupf, and the French rolls crisp up wonderfully when pressed. They also do coffee really well. My double cubano
was absolutely delicious and sweetened just right for me to add it to my list of favorite strong, yet palatable, caffeine fixes in the area. It’s pictured with a dulce de leche mantecadito from the South Durham Confectionary Company. I thought that was steeply priced at $0.75 for such a small cookie, but it was pretty tasty with lots of butter. The dulce de leche flavor was lost in the mix, however.
I’ve also had their double café con leche, and that drink was just as well-prepared as the cubano.
The Old Havana Sandwich Shop gets major points for their coffee quality.
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525 East Broad Street
The Aviator Smokehouse in downtown Fuquay-Varina is an offshoot of the Aviator Brewing Company, which is a favorite of plenty of Triangle-area beer drinkers. That beer connection carries over to their menu. The first thing I noticed under the list of sides was a proclamation that a cold beer makes the best side there is for smoked meat. Beer also appears as a confirmed or hinted at ingredient in many of their menu descriptions. That menu is mostly of—I’m struggling not to say barbecue here, because I think North Carolinians don’t consider smoked meat to be barbecue—well, it’s a meat-heavy joint. The smoked offerings include beef brisket, St. Louis style ribs, pulled pork with and without an East Carolina barbecue sauce, and wings that are smoked and then deep fried. All of the above come with a choice of two sides including the standard mac and cheese, coleslaw, fries, collards, beer-stewed beans, and so on. If slabs or piles of meat aren’t your thing, they also offer a brunswick stew, meat in sandwich forms, bratwursts, burgers, nachos, and a few other options. For the real meat lover, try the Boil Over Burger with cheddar, bacon, brisket, pulled pork, an onion ring, barbecue sauce, fries, sour cream, and caramelized onions. Seriously, if any of you ever try that, I want a picture.
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