Before we get into the thick of things aka food talk, here’s the history of El Rey de las Fritas to get your motors running.
El Rey de las Fritas History
Victoriano “Benito” Gonzalez sold the Frita Cubana in Placetas, Cuba until 1968. Before founding El Rey de las Fritas in 1979, Benito was the chef at Palacio de las Fritas. The original El Rey location was right off of Coral Way.
In 1982, the former Fritas Domino restaurant location (1177 SW 8th Street) in Little Havana would fall into the hands of Benito. His brother-in-law Ortelio Cardenas moved from New Jersey to help him run this new spot. Ortelio, who had never worked in the food business, decided to make a career change.
Benito taught Ortelio everything he knew about the food industry.
El Rey de las Fritas in Little Havana would end up popularizing Fritas to those outside the Cuban community. During his time at El Rey, Ortelio added cheese to the Frita in an attempt to Americanize it. Shortly after closing the original spot, Ortelio would leave the establishment to open his El Mago de las Fritas in West Miami.
Just an FYI: Fritas with cheese are frowned upon by hardcore and old-school Frita fans.
The King must Expand
Benito’s frita palace would flourish and open another location in Hialeah. He would pass away in 2005, leaving behind a lasting legacy that many Miamians hold close to their heart. The business was left in the more than capable hands of his wife Angelina, son Yamil and daughter Mercy.
Angelina runs the original Calle Ocho location. Mercy and her husband Gino can be found at the locations in Hialeah and Sweetwater. Yamil’s restaurant is on a busy strip mall corner in the Westchester part of Miami, where I grew up.
El Rey de las Frita Little Havana
El Rey de las Fritas Hialeah
El Rey de las Fritas Food Pictures
El Rey de las Fritas Video on MITÚ
Visit The King:
421 W 29th Street
Little Havana/Calle Ocho
1821 SW 8th Street
Little Havana, Florida
10142 W Flagler Street
9343 SW 40th Street