Babalu Cuban Joint in Dacula serves its 751 Cuban sandwich with black beans and rice. The sandwich is named after the number of miles the restaurant to Cuba.
Babalu Cuban Joint
802 Dacula Road, Dacula
• Open since: January
• Location: 802 Dacula Road in Dacula, near the intersection of Old Peachtree Road and Dacula Road
• Hours: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays.
• Owner: Ivan Jaramillo
• Atmosphere: Situated in the corner of a new outparcel development on Dacula Road in Dacula, this small, quaint Cuban restaurant offers healthy, fresh authentic fare with a nod toward local farmers, wineries and breweries. Small but definitely with a retro, Ybor City Cuban feel. There’s a big palm tree in one corner, and a display of good cigars (not Cuban) for sale by the register. By the time warm weather arrives, the festive patio should be completed.
• Menu: Jaramillo said that opening Babalu Cuban Joint two months ago was “a dream come true.” Having been taught to cook by his mom from the time he was a little boy instilled in him a love for the art of creating flavorful cuisine. Putting his healthy and fresh spin on Cuban food sets his restaurant apart.
“We cook with very low sodium and much lower fat (than is typical in Cuban food),” said Jaramillo, adding that he buys fresh vegetables from local growers and serves craft beers made locally. Jaramillo is also proud of the impressive wine list offered at Babalu, and the sangria is “excellent.”
“I’m the owner-operator. I’m here all the time. That’s important,” Jaramillo said.
If you see something on the menu that you might want to try but aren’t sure, he’ll even take the time to describe the dish to you and help you understand the menu.
Desserts are not overlooked, with authentic choices such as Tres Leches, Dulce de Leche ice cream, Quattro Leches (yellow cake soaked in three sweet milks and caramel), and even pastry, fruit and cheese selections. Jaramillo even offers protein smoothies flavored with tropical fruits — mamey, mango and berry.
• Things you might not know: The popular “751” sandwich gets its name from the fact that it’s 751 miles from the restaurant’s location to Cuba.