The closing of Little Havana’s Morro Castle in 2017 was a giant blow to Miami’s Frita community. And now, here we are just fours years later, and Miami’s original Frita Cubana spot Fritas Domino La Original, has closed without any fanfare whatsoever.
Over the last few years, Fritas Domino had fallen on hard times, and the pandemic certainly didn’t help them any. I ate there a few times during the last year, and we were the only customers on each occasion.
The restaurant and its intellectual property have been on sale since late 2020. I had high hopes that someone would swoop in and save this diamond in the rough. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.
A sign on the door says, “Nueva Administración, La Fragüita Restaurant Coming Soon!” which dashes any hope of saving the place.
Morro Castle in Hialeah is now officially the oldest Frita joint in town. Please, let’s support them!
We don’t need to lose any more pieces of Miami’s food history.
Fritas Domino La Original History
In 1961, Ramon Estevill and his sons Dagoberto, Tomas, Daniel, and Miguel decided to sell Frita Cubanas in the Little Havana part of Miami via a cart similar to ones that lined Havana, Cuba. While living in Cuba, Dagoberto had been a car salesman at his father’s business.
he had befriended Bebo, the son of Havana’s most famous Fritero (Frita maker), Sebastían Carro Seijido. He learned everything about making a Frita from scratch from him, including the preparation of the julienne potatoes that are the real secret to mastering a great Frita recipe.
By March of 1962, they opened the fourteen-seat brick-and-mortar Fritas Domino in the Little Havana part of Miami. It brought much emotional comfort to those fleeing from Cuba to Miami for what they thought would be a temporary thing.
Fritas Domino went on to open three more locations over the next three years, with the fourth and final one opening in Hialeah, Florida, in 1965.
Ramon Estevill passed away in 1980, and a few years later, his sons decided to sell the business, but not the name and brand. The original location at 1177 SW 8th Street would eventually become the second El Rey de las Fritas restaurant.
In 1987, Fritas Domino, then run by Dagoberto Estevill, reopened in West Miami right down the street from El Mago de las Fritas. It would change ownership a few times over the next thirty years.
Original Fritas Domino Catchphrase
“¡Si te come una, te come dos!” translates to you’ve gotta eat two of them if you eat one.