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The Beginnings

In 1971 Felipe Valls opened Versailles Restaurant. It marked the onset of ful­filling his vision for a Cuban hub. His goal was to create a place where families could enjoy high quality food at affordable prices. At the time, Little Havana's Calle Ocho had not yet become the bustling business and commerce center it is today. Miami was rapidly increasing in population and diversity, however, and Felipe foresaw this location becoming a central spot in the changing city.

Felipe Valls opened Versailles with a very simple premise. He wanted his customers to leave happier than when they arrived. He knew that most Cu­ban immigrants were struggling finan­cially and that restaurant dining was a luxury many of them could not afford. His business model was likewise sim­ple. Provide your patrons with a great meal at a fair price, and they will keep coming back.

As Valls had hoped, the time and investment spent building and nurturing Ver­sailles paid off. Cuban customers-hungry as much for nostalgia as for food-and the curious Miami locals came in droves. The mass appeal of this Eighth Street restaurant far exceeded his expectations; it drew crowds from all over the globe. Valls acknowledges that the success and the significance of Versailles reflect not only his passion and dedication but also that of his staff, the patrons, and the ever-evolving dynamic city of Miami.

The evolution

Versailles eventually expanded to accommodate the now equally popular Ver­sailles Bakery. The bakery makes all the desserts and pastries for the restaurant. Aside from famously sweet and decadent desserts, the bakery carries all the ele­ments for a typical casual Cuban breakfast. Our loyal morning customers come in for a cortadito, a pastelito, and a croqueta, which they enjoy while sitting in the cafe reading their copy of El Nuevo Herald. They may then stroll to "La Ventanita," where they can discuss the latest news with the other regulars.

Our staff are as diverse as our patrons, and many have been with us since we opened forty years ago. They are more than employees; they are like family, not only to us but to the regulars who confide in and share their stories with the staff. Romance, deal making, politics, gossip, celebrity sightings-it's all in a day's work at this sprawling mirrored gem we call home.

An extension of the Versailles brand is Cafe Versailles, a Cuban coffee and pas­try stand inspired by the "Ventanita" and bakery. There are currently five Cafe Versailles stands located at the Miami International Airport. Our loyal customers love being able to enjoy their cortaditos, croquetas, pastelitos, or sandwiches while they are at the airport, or even better, take some with them on their journey.