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Versailles Restaurant Marks 40th Anniversary

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Source: Versailles Restaurant

Source: Versailles Restaurant

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MIAMI (CBS4) – A Little Havana landmark which has become a go-to stop for politicians seeking support from South Florida’s Cuban-American community is celebrating its 40th year in business.

The Valls family opened the doors of the Versailles Restaurant, located at 3555 Southwest 8th Street, in 1971. Since then, three generations of the family have owned and operated the restaurant.

“It’s a destination for Cubans and non Cubans alike. This is a very important place,” said  Dr. Eduardo Padron, President of Miami-Dade College.

Tuesday afternoon kicked off a year long series of events to honor “the countless customers who have sat on the restaurants signature green vinyl seats to eat in its ornate-mirrored dining rooms and who have snacked at its walk-up cafecito window,” according to a statement from the restaurant. The party featured guaguancó dancers, percussionists, comic stilt-walkers and a ten piece band.

In addition to serving up excellent Cuban cuisine, Versailles has become the de rigueur stop for many local and national politicians. Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney and John McCain are among those who’ve campaigned there. Former President Bill Clinton is a repeat customer.

Florida Governor Rick Scott stopped by the restaurant today to take in the festivities.

“This is the American dream. For a family to come here with nothing and create this restaurant and do it so successfully is the epitome of  the American dream,” said Scott

In addition to Versailles, the Valls family also owns and operates a number of Cuban restaurants throughout South Florida, including multiple locations of its other popular family-style chain La Carreta as well as the more upscale Spanish-cuisine Casa Juancho.  The also own and operate the Cafe Versailles at Miami International Airport.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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