The Cuban Street Cafe food truck in Ames serves dishes “full of flavor”

Father-son food truck owners Willie Fonseca and Anthony Fonseca opened a bright red food trailer in May that pays homage to their Cuban heritage. the Cuban street cafe sets up on the west side of Lowe’s parking lot at 120 Airport Road in Ames.

Willie Fonseca, who now lives in Ogden, was born in Cuba and his family moved to the United States when he was 3, when the family fled the Cuban Revolution, first traveling to Mexico and eventually settling in Florida. Anthony Fonseca was born in Orlando, Florida.

“I grew up here, but my parents are Cuban. Some of the recipes we use are my mom’s, ”said Willie Fonseca. “And some are Anthony’s – some of his own recipes that he developed.”

They roast a shoulder of pork every morning to use on their Cuban sandwiches.

“We use our own mojo recipe to make the roast pork with it,” said Anthony Fonseca. “We make the mojo ourselves. We use this pork with ham, Swiss cheese and pickles and squeeze the sandwich on the grill. “

Willie Fonseca and his son Anthony Fonseca work at the food truck

A staple of Cuban cuisine, mojo sauce is a garlic and citrus marinade that the Fonsecas make with sour orange juice and a variety of spices.

“Cuban food isn’t that spicy – it’s not that hot, but it’s full of flavor,” said Anthony Fonseca.

For breakfast, the Fonsecas offer a breakfast sandwich with ham, egg and cheese; breakfast burrito with sausage, eggs, cheese and pico, a fresh, uncooked salsa; and cafe con leche, which is a Spanish espresso with milk. Breakfast items range from $ 3.50 to $ 4, and they start serving at 7 a.m.

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The Cuban Street Cafe starts serving lunch around 11 a.m., when the roast pork is tender and ready to serve, said Anthony Fonseca.

The menu offers this pork in three of its dishes: the Cuban sandwich, a hot-pressed sandwich with roasted pork, accompanied by ham, Swiss cheese, garlic sauce, mustard and pickles on pressed Cuban bread. ; Pan Con Lechon, a hot-pressed sandwich with pork, garlic sauce and grilled onions; and a rice bowl that includes pork, black beans, and white rice.

For chicken lovers, two options: Pan Con Pollo, a hot-pressed sandwich with chicken, grilled onions, garlic sauce and tomatoes; and a bowl of rice with chicken, black beans and rice.

A bowl of vegetarian rice is also available.

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For sides, Cuban Street Cafe offers fries and – one of their most popular dishes – platanos.

Platanos are plantain chips that the Fonsecas prepare in two different ways: maduros, which are soft and sweet, or tostones, which are crunchy and salty.

Regular menu items for lunch and dinner range from $ 2 to $ 8.

Customers wait for their food from the Cuban Street Cafe food truck in the parking lot of Lowe's on Thursday, June 3, 2021 in Ames, Iowa.

They plan to offer specials on Fridays.

“We will have special dishes like ropa vieja or fritas,” said Willie Fonseca.

Ropa vieja is like pulled pork, but it’s made with beef instead, he said, along with peppers, onions and tomatoes.

“The Fritas is like a Cuban burger, but it’s beef mixed with chorizo,” Willie said. “It’s grilled with a red sauce and is garnished with cut fries. It’s something different from your usual burger.

Rosie Rodriguez, Willie Fonseca’s girlfriend, also helps out at Cuban Street Cafe and is the expert on their pastries, which they occasionally sell on Friday mornings.

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Rosie Rodriguez of Cuban Street Cafe takes an order from a customer in the parking lot of Lowe's on Thursday, June 3, 2021 in Ames, Iowa.

“The pasta is made with guava or coconut and puff pastry,” said Rodriguez, whose family is from Puerto Rico. “The others are quesitos and it’s a cream cheese filling, which is an elongated puff pastry.”

Eventually, the Fonsecas would love to open a brick and mortar restaurant in Ames, but for now, they’re busy with their bright red food trailer.

Cuban Street Cafe is open Monday to Thursday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

About Walter Bartholomew

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