Between Two Loafs

A sneak peek inside Alberto Cabrera's Little Bread Cuban Sandwich Co.

"I always say I'd take a sandwich over a steak any day," chef Alberto Cabrera says.

He invited us over to his soon-to-open Little Bread Cuban Sandwich Co. in Little Havana, and as the name suggests, the small 15-seater shop is cut from the same cloth as Bread + Butter, the restaurant where he succeeded in fusing his background with haute cuisine techniques.

Here, the feel is traditional cafeteria accented with Americana: brick walls decorated with antique ornaments and vintage photographs that pay homage to Cabrera's Cuban heritage, as well as repurposed dangling lightbulbs and the white subway tiles that give Bread + Butter its modern-chic gastropub feel.

But unlike the popular eatery, this is strictly an artisanal sandwich business, and the first of its kind in town. What will make these bread-enclosed creations special are the quality ingredients made in-house, including the charcuterie and an array of meats smoked to perfection.

Alberto Cabrera | Photo: Courtesy of PLP Hospitality

The 15-sandwich menu will include his signature takes on Cuban staples (that pressed ham, cheese, dill pickles and roast pork wonder), and rotating spots for American classics such as po'boys, the Reubencito and even a vegetarian cauliflower Philly "cheesesteak" with tofu cheese whiz.

Five daily small dishes will also be available; chase them down with the house batidos in black plumb, orange sherbet or strawberry guava shortcake.

A provisions shelf displays fixins available for purchase, like the smoked tomato and guava mermeladas (jams), pickles, homemade malanga chips (dusted in BBQ, ranch and salt and vinegar), PepperJellyCo.'s Cuban Sriracha and ketchup (which the chef admits to being a huge fan of) and nibbles such as coquito rayado (macaroons), cremitas de lechechicharoncitos and bacon with sea salt.

But before Little Bread opens its doors, we asked Cabrera to give us some of his local sandwich favorites:

① The Cuban Sandwich ($6) at Calle Ocho's Versailles
"I have a lot of appreciation for a restaurant that can do the business it does and do it at a consistent level. You know what you're getting."

② Media Noche ($7) at Luis Galindo's Latin American Restaurant & Cafeteria
What differentiates the Media Noche from its cousin is the bread, and Cabrera likes the perfect eggy crust of the smaller sweet roll version here.

③ Fritas ($3.50) at El Mago de las Fritas
It's his favorite spot "by default," but Cabrera shares that "a lot of people don't know the best stuff is not just his fritas; the guy can cook! His rice and beans are always on point, and his bacalao is fantastic. I'm taking my Puerto Rican chef [Richard Torres] there to watch him cook chicharrones."

④ Pan con Tortilla ($7) at Wynwood's Enriqueta's
No matter what your plans, Cabrera says you should always start your day with a pan con tortilla (omelet sandwich) and a cafecito at Enriqueta's.

⑤ Cold Cuts at Josh's Deli or Smoker's

"As far as pastrami and cuts, Josh's Deli sandwiches are killer. Smokers is doing cool stuff, too, and I'm glad, because it just moved into the same neighborhood, and we need more of that here," he concludes.

Get your research out of the way, because when Little Bread opens, it might become your one-stop shop.