Thursday night a crowd of foodies gathered in Coral Gables to taste the first ever, to my knowledge, Cuban Frita not made with meat. The plant based “Flaca” burger was created in partnership between Sergio’s Cuban and Beyond MeatⓇ. It will be available to order starting Saturday October 5th. Vegans across Miami and beyond (pun intended) are cheering for joy.
Brax Tinkler, a patron who snacked on the vegan mini slider welcomed the new addition to the menu saying that “now I can come to a Cuban restaurant like this and order more than just beans and rice.” Appealing to a wider audience was one of the motivators for the leadership team at Sergio’s to break from the mold of traditional Cuban restaurants.
Google Cuban recipes and you’ll find mentions of pork and beef. The culture of Cuba celebrates meat. The Lechon Roast is a type of BBQ where an entire pig is roasted so the inclusion of a plant based item on the menu is certainly taboo. Breaking with tradition is a risk that Sergio’s has experience with.
Several years ago they rolled out a variety of menu items as part of their Flaca concept. Flaca means skinny in Spanish. The Flaca menu includes dishes like cauliflower rice, and hearty salads. Carlos Gazitua, a third generation executive at Sergio’s said that a few managers quit when they made the change.
“Food is very sensitive to some people.” Said Gazitua. It also brings people together and the reality is that people want a variety. In a group of friends you may have one vegan, and several meat eaters, and there is something for everyone at Sergio’s. Perhaps why it is a favorite place to dine by many locals to Miami, including historian Marvin Dunn.
With multiple locations in South Florida and another location opening in Miami Lakes this week, the brand is showing no signs of slowing down. The Beyond MeatⓇ stock (BYND) prices continue to soar since their IPO earlier this year, and meatless, or plant based meat sales are in the millions of dollars.
That doesn’t mean anyone can just put a vegan burger on the menu and become a success. The latest trend is for recipes to use these alternatives but it requires seasoning skills. The Flaca Frita at Sergio’s was crafted after several taste tests were conduced. They finally settled on a simple burger with onions, ketchup, and potato strings served two in an order. It was a team effort to pull it off said Gazitua “You can’t do something like this alone. We have a great team.”