By Betsy Cook
Special to The Roanoke Times
I’ve heard grumbling that the renovated Roanoke City Market Building lacks the charm and atmosphere of the old place. To those people and to anyone looking for a great place to spend a summer evening, I’d recom mend a trip to Habana Cafe.
This restaurant and bar opened in the market building in January 2012. Owner Yordanys “Yordy” Rosenda got the idea to open the restaurant while his other business, Art Tile Inc., was doing tile work for the building’s renovation. Habana Cafe features the traditional food and drink of Rosenda’s native Cuba.
My first trip to the restaurant was for dinner and drinks with a friend. We chose a table in the outdoor dining area and ordered a mojito ($5). The combination of rum, lime, sugar and fresh mint was perfectly balanced — tart, sweet and refreshing. We sat without talking, sipping our drinks and watching people go by. Latin music was playing in the background, and an artist sat sketching at the table next to us. When my friend turned and said, “I feel like I’m … somewhere else,” I knew exactly what she meant. The tropical vibe made it feel like a sidewalk cafe in Miami.
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What have been your experiences at Habana Cafe?