I’m a giant fan of Fritas (pronounced free-tahs), better known to some as the Cuban Hamburger. It’s a mix of ground beef (sometimes Chorizo or pork is added), seasonings (paprika for sure), julienne cut potatoes or potato sticks, diced raw onions and ketchup (rumored to be tomato paste not ketchup in Cuba) on a Cuban roll. It’s cooked on a flat top and not grilled over an open flame.
The Frita is mostly found in South Florida but its origins are from 19230s Cuba where it was street food. Carts with propane-fueled stoves lined the street selling Fritas to customers. At least one of the Rey De Las Fritas in Miami has a picture of a Frita cart in Cuba. Dagoberto Estevil is believed to have brought the Frita to Miami in 1961 when he opened up in Little Havana (8th Street & 12th). He named his restaurant Fritas Domino. That location is no longer open but a Fritas Domino does exist on 8th Street and 67th Avenue in Miami which was opened by one of Estevil’s children in the late 1980’s.
Fritas can be found in most Cuban cafeterias in South Florida but the good ones are harder to find. El Rey De Las Fritas is a mini-chain of restaurants in South Florida known for its Fritas. The original location in Little Havana burned down a few years but has since re-opened. The restaurants known to have the “Best” Frita in Miami are El Mago De Las Fritas, El Rey De Las Fritas, Fritas Domino, La Palma & Morro Castle.
If this wasn’t enough Frita info for you I also wrote a story entitled “Let me tell you about the Frita” for edible South Florida. You can see it below. Just click on it to enlarge for reading. Some of the information in this story is outdated since it was written in 2011.
Or check out when Hamburger America’s George Motz came to Miami on his Frita crawl:
On Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 Burger Beast’s Frita Showdown was held and El Rey de las Fritas was crowned the winner by a panel of judges:
Since then the Frita Showdown has become an annual event. Below are the winners:
Frita Showdown 2013 Judge’s Winner: El Rey de las Fritas
Frita Showdown 2014 Judge’s Winner: El Rey de las Fritas
Frita Showdown 2015 Judge’s Winner: El Mago de las Fritas
Frita Showdown 2015 People’s Winner: El Rey de las Fritas
Frita Showdown 2016 People’s Winner: El Rey de las Fritas
Frita Showdown 2017 People’s Winner: El Rey de las Fritas
Frita Showdown 2019 People’s Winner: October 2019
Great Stories about Fritas
There is a much larger and thorough history of the Frita Cubana in my book All About the Burger.
Los Puestos de Frita – mariaargeliavizcaino.com
The Miami Frita An Amazing Burger Experience – Hamburger America
When it Comes to Fritas (Cuban Hamburgers), El Mago is Best – Miami Beach 411