Colada Cuban Coffee House & Eatery In Fort Lauderdale Hopes To Expand To Davie
Colada owners Ryan Campbell and Alex Recio didn’t exactly plan on running a restaurant, but with a growing customer base at the new Cuban eatery in Fort Lauderdale, it looks like they'll be running more.
The fast-casual eatery—which opened in Flagler Village seven months ago—serves up Cuban pastries, sandwiches, fritas (Cuban-style hamburgers) and chop bowls, alongside Cuban coffee and a rotating selection of local craft beers.
So, where do the owners have their sights set on next? The Nova Southeastern University area in Davie.
Not only is the customer base right, Campbell explained, but it’s a midway point between the store in Fort Lauderdale and sister business Miramar Bakery, where the pastries are made.
It all began when the two friends were approached for help with revitalizing the longtime Hollywood bakery while attending law school at the University of Miami just a few years ago. The store, which they frequented as kids, needed to be relocated due to the expansion of State Road 7. The founder, who was in his 80s, wanted to take a step back but didn't want to see the business die, Campbell said.
Campbell and Recio switched career tracks and dived into the biz, eventually taking their idea to open up a modern Cuban eatery to Fort Lauderdale.
“[It’s] an area of very high growth, in terms of people moving into the city, particularly young professionals—millennials, like ourselves,” Campbell said.
But, with plans to expand from day one, there was another strategy at play, too.
Noting that many people commute downtown for work and then head back home to the suburbs, Campbell said he wanted to get residents acquainted with the brand during lunch or happy hour. That way, when the store expands closer to their homes, they'll already be familiar with the product.
The product, of course, being approachable Cuban food—sometimes with a twist. Take for instance, the bacon-wrapped sweet plantains or the new tres leche waffle—made with tres leche batter and topped with guava whipped cream—that's making its debut at a beer pairing dinner on Thursday, Dec. 17.
Growing the business is a priority, but so is building up the community and collaborating with neighboring restaurants at the current location.
“We’re not trying to be by ourselves over here on an island,” Campbell said.
On Saturday, Dec. 19, Colada is teaming up with Mellow Mushroom and Brass Tap for a winterfest bash featuring music, live art, food, drinking games and more. The eatery has also established a relationship with nearby beer garden Rhythm and Vine, where the Colada staff will head to roast a pig for the Super Bowl.
But it gets more personal than that. The founders of Cocktail Cartel, who are currently working with Rhythm and Vine to develop recipes, said they stop by Colada at least four to five times a day—whether it be for a pastry in the morning or a mid-afternoon cafecito.
“Sometimes it feels like they never leave,” Campbell said, laughing.
Still, Cocktail Cartel’s Eddie Fuentes praised the way Colada has made a name for itself after just a few short months.
“[We] took a cue from them,” Fuentes said. “Colada brought the culture/concept up to a community that wasn’t familiar [with it].”
View some photos of dishes and the eatery, below:
(Images via Facebook/Colada Colada Cuban Coffee House)
Colada Colada Cuban Coffee House & Eatery; 525 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale