Ozzy Llanes brings big flavor to a tiny restaurant.
In Florida, hungry Miami residents can stroll up to takeout windows and order Cuban sandwiches, pastries and cafe con leche to go. Ozzy Llanes, a Sandy Springs transplant who grew up in Cuba, doesn’t miss much about living in Miami, but he does miss those windows—and those traditional Cuban sandwiches of ham, pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and yellow mustard on Cuban bread, served pressed and warm. Llanes couldn’t find one he liked in Atlanta (and he tried many), so in August he opened Cubanos ATL in Sandy Springs.
The concept is similar to what you might find in Miami, only it’s operated out of a tiny house with a commercial kitchen in a parking lot off of Roswell Road. There’s no seating inside or outside, but diners flock to the parking lot Tuesday through Saturday to feast on Cuban fare prepared by Llanes and his parents. We spoke with Llanes to find out what makes Cubanos ATL worth lining up.
What sets your Cuban sandwiches apart from the ones you’ve tried in Atlanta?
What makes us really special is the pork. All mojos (marinades) are based around the same thing, with sour orange, oregano and garlic, so we tweak [mojo] products that already exist with our own [ingredients] and make what we think is that perfect mojo. And we just let the pork marinate for about 24 hours, then we roast and slice it.
How are your parents involved with Cubanos?
My mom makes the flan every day, and my dad makes the coffee. The idea was to keep them busy. They’re 71 and 72, so they’re working part-time.
What can we expect to see from Cubanos in the future?
I went to Miami to look for pastries, like pastelitos (puff pastry with sweet fillings) and croquetas (fried pastries typically with a creamy ham filling), because clients are asking for them. And we need more space to cook and prep more products and sandwiches. So we got a license for a kitchen about a mile from here that will serve as our headquarters.
6450 Roswell Road
Sandy Springs 30328
Freelance writer covering food, travel, and interior design.