Right after I dropped my wife Marcela off at an antique shop in Georgia, I head out to look for some grub. That’s not true. I was initially looking for a car wash but spotted this strip mall with a restaurant called the Cuban Diner (1484 Roswell Rd, Marietta).
I was interested in what might be on the menu, but not 100% committed to eating there yet. It was a little odd to find Cuban food in Marietta. If there are going to be croquettes and a Frita Cubana, then I’m game. Not even a minute later, I was walking through the doors of the Cuban Diner.
They had just opened and seemed to be still getting their bearings. A few folks were seated and speaking to the waitress, which allowed me to take the place in. The Cuban Diner looks like it could have very easily been in Miami. I was a little homesick at this point after having been gone on a road trip for almost three weeks.
So, true to form, I order the croquetas, yuca fries, a frita, a Cuban coffee, and flan for dessert. Based on the price ($3.25), I had little faith that the croquetas would be housemade and not the store-bought ones available in every market all over South Florida.
The fried ground ham cylinders arrive, and as expected, they’re of the prepackaged variety. Hey, it’s ok I love croquetas of all kinds, and I can imagine that there isn’t a high demand in Marietta for homemade croquetas. I’m not surprised since they are labor-intensive to make.
The yuca fries show up as a side dish for my frita. I’ve never seen fried yuca in a shape like this before. It almost looks as if they made the yuca fries using the little handheld contraption to churn out churros. The fried fellas come with a chimichurri dipping sauce. I love chimichurri as any self-respecting Cuban does, but a cilantro sauce would have made them a home run.
The Frita Cubana
The frita, or its full legal name, the Frita Cubana, arrived in a fluffy hamburger roll. It leans more towards hamburger than frita, but the seed of Cuban flavor is there. The seasoned patty comes with ketchup, potato sticks, and diced raw onions. I enjoyed it.
The last part of this lunch was necessary, a creamy flan with a cafecito (Cuban coffee) chaser. The delicious flan and that Cuban coffee are exactly what I needed. The cafecito made me long to be home.
After I paid the bill, I asked if the owner was in, but it’s their day off. Just kidding, they didn’t happen to be in at that moment. I wanted to ask how they ended up in Marietta, assuming that they’re Cuban. It sounds like it could be an interesting story.
I was only a handful of days away from getting back to Miami. The Cuban Diner helped me feel at home while I was almost 700 miles away.