The smells of Cuban and Latin inspired dishes emanating from restaurant Café Habana have been temporarily tucked away until the business reopens its doors at a new location this summer.
Café Habana, which shares an owner with Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery next door, will move to a new building on Main Street in an effort to alleviate overcrowding problems at Blue Tractor. The restaurants’ owners ultimately came to the decision to expand Blue Tractor into the space currently occupied by Café Habana, and relocate the café down the street.
The renovations for the expanded Blue Tractor space are expected to be completed next month, according to a sign currently posted on the door of the business. Café Habana is expected to open at its new location on Main Street this summer.
Dan Glazer, general manager for both stores, said that while the restaurants experienced a fall in sales due to economic struggles in 2010, their combined sales in 2011 showed a 19-percent increase from the year before. Based on the success, Glazer said the owners wanted to expand and cultivate the restaurants.
“Overall, we can’t complain,” Glazer said. “There are a lot of restaurants closing and we’re doing fine enough to stay going.”
Glazer added that the design of the new building on Main Street was a deciding factor in moving Café Habana, rather than Blue Tractor, noting that the new location has a perfect basement for salsa dancing — a popular event Café Habana holds every Thursday.
Glazer further noted that the style of the Main Street space matched the theme of the restaurant better than the style of the former building on East Washington Street.
The sign posted outside Café Habana also said the transition is being made to better benefit the community.
“What would you do if the popularity of your restaurant was unable to meet the demand for customer seating?” the sign reads. “Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery is solving the problem by expanding into the adjoining space currently home to Café Habana.”
The sign further states that Blue Tractor’s interior will receive a renovation, and the restaurant will implement a second smoker and a hot deli case for take out.
Pharmacy student Sharon Park said she visited Café Habana once before with a friend, and despite her being underdressed, she said the waiters were very welcoming and provided exceptional service.
LSA senior Han Qi said that he has visited Café Habana several times, and is excited the restaurant will continue to operate.
“I am glad it will still be open even if the menu has less to offer,” he said.