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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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

Comments (10)
  1. yokolee says:

    Good Job Versailles!!!!!

    PS did any of you remember when it was a pizza place?!

    1. Daley says:

      I don’t remember when Versalles was a pizza place. However, I do remeber places the were good places to eat and are now replaced by terrible Cuban food.

      Wow, great accomplishment… not!

  2. Finita Reed says:

    Estar alli es casi casi como estar en nuestra Cuba. Felicidades al Sr. Vals y familia!

  3. Luis bonilla says:

    who cares, the place sucks anyways. It is only good for cubans to hangout and talk BS whenever any Cuba related news happens.

  4. Castor A. Fernandez says:

    A Classic example of Commitment and Determination! Great Job!

    (now… if you guys could only do a little re-decorating, painting, etc.???)

    Castor A. Fernandez

  5. Daley says:

    This is all that cubans in Miami are concerned about. The people that eat here could care less about learning US history or English. This place is still serving the same pastelitos that have been in the showcase from 40 years ago. CBS4 should do a report on the great restaurants Miami used to have, but are no longer in existence.

    Also, Finta Reed can you please post your comments in the Ingles as this is not Dario De Las Americas website. I don’t go to and post comments in English. Gracis… si.

  6. Castor A. Fernández says:

    Willie and Daley…. please, This article is only about a BUSINESS that has remained open for 40 years. In times like the ones we’re all living it’s just fantastic.This is not about English speaking or Spanish or about the greatest Cuban restaurant food.
    The fact that it’s a Cuban restaurant only speaks to Spanish speaking Cuban refugees taking full advantage of the opportunities this country gave them and making Miami the Global Place it is today. . While I might agree with you about the need and responsibility to speak English in America, I can tell you’re a bit too bitter about it… Face it: It is what it is, and in a Free country like the USA there are plenty of places for you to move to where you will feel less hateful and accomplished. Get with it and get moving.

    1. Castor Oil says:

      Get moving??? The Cubans here should get moving back to KUBA. Wow, that is great a place to eat it is opened by 40 years ummm we don’t care. Going to shop in Sedanos is global… you see part of the cesspool of the globe. In 40 years Cubans managed to ruin Mi-Jami. I bet KUBA has less Cubans than Mi-jami. Face it Castor Oil you people are lazy and very ignorant.

  7. tincup says:

    People, lets think for a minute.
    Is this something ‘we’ cubans should be proud of?. Sorry I dont’ think so.
    Let me ask, how many of your relative had died in this country?. Me, I have a few, that didn’t had the chance to go back to Cuba, and died there.
    Is very sad how fast do ‘we’ forget.
    ‘We’ are very comfortable in our airconditioning homes and cars here in MIJAMI.
    How fast do ‘we’ forget.

  8. Pat O. says:

    lot of professional single women and men dine alone and would appreciate a sit down counter instead of sitting down at a table.

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