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A Legendary Cuban Restaurant Shuts Down After Nearly 30 Years

In Jamaica Plain, El Oriental de Cuba will be sorely missed

A sign hanging in front of a restaurant reads “El Oriental de Cuba” in pastel colors.
El Oriental de Cuba is no more.
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater Boston
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

El Oriental de Cuba, a landmark Cuban restaurant that has been a fixture in Jamaica Plain for generations, has shut down.

El Mundo Boston reports that Yvonne Torres and Lissette Garcia, sisters and current owners of the restaurant, decided to close the place in part due to struggling to juggle operations with their own full-time careers. “Our family will always be proud and humbled to have been a part of the journey and will treasure all of the happy memories of El Oriental and the positive impact that it brought to Jamaica Plain, and the City of Boston,” the sisters wrote in a message announcing the closure.

Prior to the sisters’ ownership, El Oriental de Cuba had been stewarded by their father, Nobel Garcia, up until his death in 2021.

For decades, the restaurant was a beloved gathering place for Boston’s Latinx community; a welcoming home for morning cafecitos and dinners of tangy, saucy Cuban sandwiches. It also served as a home for an “immeasurable” amount of political activity that helped shape the future of Jamaica Plain, former state representative and JP resident Jeffrey Sánchez tells the Boston Globe. Over its nearly three decades in business, the restaurant won a slew of local entrepreneurship awards and was a regular sight on Best of Boston lists and Eater Boston’s map of the city’s 38 essential restaurants.

In the same closure message, the sisters also teased what was coming next: Adolfo Alvarado, the chef and owner behind Somerville’s acclaimed Mexican restaurant Tu Y Yo, is opening a second Mexican restaurant, Abuela’s Table, in El Oriental’s former corner space on Centre Street. No opening date was disclosed, but the restaurant is coming “soon,” according to the sisters’ message.

El Oriental De Cuba

416 Centre Street, , MA 02130 (617) 524-6464 Visit Website