Versailles: a Political and Culinary Icon

By Jake Meyer ~

Screenshot 2017-06-11 17.25.20Today was our last full day in Miami so for our farewell dinner we went to the birthplace of the Cuban sandwich: Café Versailles. We were told that the restaurant was very popular so we might have to face a Cuban-esque wait time before getting in. We describe such delays as Cuban-esque because our average wait time to be served our meal at a restaurant in Cuba was an hour. So sufficed to say we were all expecting to have to wait a while before sitting down at Versailles. Luckily however, we got there early and had no problem sitting down and finding a table large enough to fit thirteen of us.

Café Versailles is one of the most famous restaurants in Miami for a couple of reasons. Screenshot 2017-06-11 17.16.15One, Versailles is credited to have invented the Cuban sandwich. Whenever people in Miami talk about the Cuban sandwich I kind of chuckle to myself because all we heard from Cubans in Havana was that there’s no such thing as a Cuban sandwich, it’s just a manufactured invention from America. The Cuban sandwich is a bit more authentic than that but it can best be characterized as Cuban American and not exclusively Cuban. It like the fortune cookie was invented by immigrants in America and was never actually a part of the original culture.

Screenshot 2017-06-11 17.29.34Versailles is also famous because it has become a popular destination for politicians to score political points in Miami. Visiting the acclaimed café (and buying coffee from the window behind us in this picture) is now a rite of passage for anyone who wants to win the hearts and minds of the Florida electorate and the political power structure in Miami. We were told that any politician who wants to win Florida has to visit café Versailles. Being that Florida is pivotal swing state in the national election, the restaurant has hosted numerous high profile candidates from across the country including President Trump.Screenshot 2017-06-11 17.18.02

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