On December 8, 2004 the Louisville Courier Journal’s writer Lisa Hornung filed a “Side Dishes” report about a new restaurant in town: Havana Rumba, which for many Louisvillians would be their first taste of Cuban cooking.

Dance your way to Havana Rumba in St. Matthews if you’d like a little Cuban cuisine. If you’re not used to Cuban food, read the menu carefully. A full description is provided.

I had the Ropa Vieja, which the menu said means “old clothes” because the beef is shredded. The food certainly didn’t taste like textiles, but rather, like delicious, spicy beef cooked with bell peppers, onions and olives in a Creole tomato and wine sauce. It was served with black beans, rice and plantains. All of the above were delicious.

My friend had the Chulete de Cerdo, which is a grilled marinated pork chop served with rice, black beans, yucca con mojo and a side of green chimichurri (garlic, herbs and peppers) sauce. The pork chop was the kind that melts in your mouth. We’d never had yucca before but found it tasty.

Time truly flies, and in 2024 the Havana Rumba and Mojito family of restaurants is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Look for F&D’s profile (with Dan Dry’s sumptuous photos) coming in our Spring 2024 edition, which will be hitting the streets in March.

Dan at work (Mojito in Havana).

In the meantime, the four current Havana Rumba and Mojito locations in Louisville have launched weekly drink specials, valid during regular business hours through the remainder of the year.

According to owner Marcos Lorenzo, “We are thrilled to (offer) these exclusive drink specials as a token of appreciation to our wonderful community and patrons who have supported us over the years.”

  • Mondays: 50% off all bottles of wine
  • Tuesdays: 50% off all beers
  • Wednesdays: Half-price house mojitos, house margaritas, swirl margaritas and sangrias

Enjoy them here:

In a 2018 interview with Shannon Evanko at Towne Post Network, Lorenzo spoke about his experience in Louisville.

When I go outside and everyone wants to meet me and say thank you for being in Louisville, anytime customers want to say hi, shake my hand and give me support, it inspires me to wake up every day and do my best.

It’s very inspiring and rewarding that people are asking, ‘Who is the owner?’, and want to tell you that they love it. I love our clientele, and I love Louisville. It’s a quiet city with a good pace for a family. It’s a healthy city. We’ve had big success here in Louisville, and it’s my home right now. We’re proud to be a part of the community.”

Marcos Lorenzo.