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THE DISH: Tico’s Cuban Cafe

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Pictured clockwise from the front are Tico’s Cuban Cafe’s Cuban sandwich served with banana chips, the ropa vieja — shredded beef in tomato sauce served with a side of rice and beans — and the Cuban steak, also served with rice and beans. (Staff Photo: Deanna Allen)

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Tico’s Cuban Cafe in Buford serves up homemade desserts, including the tres leches, front, flan, left, and pastelito, right. (Staff Photo: Deanna Allen)

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Tico’s Cuban Cafe in Buford is named for owner Albert Miguez, whose nickname is Tico. (Staff Photo: Deanna Allen)

ON THE MENU

• Camaron Enchilado — Cuban-style shrimp Creole served with white rice, $13

• Masas de Puerco — Braised then flash-fried pork chunks served with rice and beans, $10

• Picadillo sandwich — Cuban-style ground beef with green olives, lettuce, tomato and potato sticks served with fries, $8

• Blackened mahi mahi — served with white rice and beans, $16

Tico’s Cuban Cafe 3421 Ridge Road, Buford 470-238-3889 www.facebook.com/ticoscubancafe305

• Open since: Dec. 23

• Owner: Albert Miguez

• Location: Tico’s is at the corner of Ridge Road Hamilton Mill Parkway.

• Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday

• Atmosphere: Inside Tico’s Cuban Restaurant there is booth, table and counter seating where customers can dine to the sounds of Cuban music.

The establishment is a family-owned and operated restaurant — Ileana Miquez, Albert’s mother, Orlando Miquez, his father, and two of his brothers, Gabriel and Daniel Miguez, all work there. Albert Miquez said he spends quite a bit of time outside the kitchen talking with customers.

“I want people to come here and it feel like home,” he said.

• Menu: As the name indicates, Tico’s serves up authentic Cuban food, and all the recipes are three and four generations old.

“We use a lot of olive oil, a lot of garlic. We cook with love,” Miguez said. “It’s my mom, dad, myself. My mom does all the desserts, my dad does all the old school soups.”

Albert Miquez said, hands down, the Cuban sandwich — ham, pork, pickles, Swiss cheese and mustard on homemade, fresh-baked Cuban bread — is the most popular menu item. The ropa vieja — shredded beef in tomato sauce — is also a dish that’s ordered often, and the Cuban style steak — bistec a la plancha — and the Cuban breaded steak — bistec empanizado — are also popular entrees.

The restaurant serves Cuban soft drinks, as well as typical beverages — Coke, tea and coffee — along with beer and wine.

• Things you might not know: The original Tico’s Cuban Cafe is in southeast Texas and opened four years ago. Orlando Miguez said he and his family got bored with Mexican food and decided to open a Cuban restaurant. The Buford location came about because Albert Mizuez grew up in Lilburn and has family and in-laws living in the area.