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SacredAché Understanding that our mission to rescue and preserve cultural artifacts and to promote messages of freedom, love and justice started before us, is the cause of our being and will continue after we leave here.
SustainableAlofa Our values are rooted in ancestral wisdoms. This keeps us deeply mindful to practice respect and care for all living things. We build peace through our hospitality and find that we have taken care of the planet.
SavoryBaraca Beyond 'merely wholesome or acceptable' and 'having an appetizing taste or smell' our realm of savory awakens untapped senses to provide nourishment for the soul as well as nutrients for the body.
  • SacredAché Understanding that our mission to rescue and preserve cultural artifacts and to promote messages of freedom, love and justice started before us, is the cause of our being and will continue after we leave here.
  • SustainableAlofa Our values are rooted in ancestral wisdoms. This keeps us deeply mindful to practice respect and care for all living things. We build peace through our hospitality and find that we have taken care of the planet.
  • SavoryBaraca Beyond 'merely wholesome or acceptable' and 'having an appetizing taste or smell' our realm of savory awakens untapped senses to provide nourishment for the soul as well as nutrients for the body.

Curbside pickup & takeout

All your favorite menu items now available for curbside pickup and takeout.

How it all began...

2004 - Today

In the summer of 2004 Jesus led the development of the first Soul de Cuba Cafe in New Haven, Connecticut. Two years later, in July of 2006, Jesus opened Soul de Cuba Cafe in Honolulu, Hawaii and launched Soul de Cuba Specialty Foods.

Soul de Cuba Specialty Foods is the first ever nationally distributed Cuban food product line. In 2010, the Soul de Cuba Cafe franchise program was launched. Jesus and Henry Tamasese founded the Cubanakoa Foundation which serves to celebrate human kind’s shared history, stories and journey.

Since 2009, Jesus and members of the Cubanakoa Foundation and Kahumana community have worked to improve relations between the United States and Cuba by way of cultural exchanges and anthropological studies linguistically linking the people of the Caribbean to the peoples of the pacific. 

Jesus and several community leaders in Hawaii, Samoa and Connecticut are working together to draft a hospitality industry educational course on the interconnection between peace and hospitality. Inspired by teachings of His Highness Head of State of Samoa, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi who stated that "we constantly need to search for meaning, nuance, and metaphor to find substance and establish context in our dialogue with our ancestors, with ourselves and with our cultures.”

The emphasis on sustainability as defined in the crucial values of Pacific Island culture through alofa, aloha and fa'alo'alo and in South African unbutu are the footprints we are creating today. When we think of the workplace with it's many challenges we are reminded that "conflicts are products and reflections of disharmony, and that in the Samoan culture disharmonies are resolved through the co-existence of remorse and forgiveness on the one hand, and the privileging of alofa (meaning, love and compassion) and Aiga (family) on the other."

Our goal for this educational program, is to seek harmony. We are aware that peace exist when harmony exists. Linking the Peace of Hospitality serves our employees and customers, providing tools to uncover meaning and truths and substance to nourish and protect us as we navigate, together, to a harmonious existence.

1998-2004

Since 1998, Jesus has served as a Peace Corps Volunteer, a United Nations Volunteer, and as a Charter Board Member and Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity in Western Samoa. He also worked in the Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C. where he served as country officer for Peace Corps programs in the Caribbean and Central America.

Before opening the first Soul de Cuba Cafe he was recruited to work in New Haven, Connecticut by Paul Newman’s Association of Hole in the Wall Camps to develop and support programs and activities in Thailand, Southern Africa and Japan.

1967-1993

On Easter weekend 1993, Jesus was diagnosed with spinal meningitis. Doctors gave him a few hours to live and advised his family that the slight chance of survival would come at a cost -- loss of sight or hearing, or even mental impairment.

In what doctors described as “without scientific explanation,” “a miracle” and “lucky,” Jesus survived and recovered without complications. In the Afro-Cuban tradition of spirituality practitioners believe the duties of miraculous healing are taken on by the Orisha (Angel), Babalu Aye. While in recovery, realizing his tremendous fortune, Jesus made a promise to dedicate his life to service and human enhancement. Though at first it wasn’t clear how, his will and perseverance helped to enlighten his journey.

circa 1900

 In 1900 a small group of African and Native Indian descendent Cubans, including Jesus’ great grandfather Santiago Gonzalez, chartered the forming of  “Soceidad la Union Marti y Maceo,” one of the first Cuban mutual aid societies in the United States.

The name is a celebration of the leadership of Jose Marti and Antonio Maceo against the Spanish army during the Cuban war of independence in 1895.

1890s

Just outside of Tampa, Ybor City is rich with a history of pioneering Cuban, Italian and Spanish immigrants and is where Jesus’ great parents, Santiago Gonzalez of Guanabacoa, Cuba and Beatrice Acosta of Bayamo, Cuba, first settled in the late 1890s.

Cubans had begun immigrating to Ybor City as a result of the flourishing cigar industry. Many of the Cubans of African and Native Indian descent, including the Gonzalez family, brought with them traditional methods of preparing food and traditional ideas regarding spirituality.