The restaurant, which honors her grandparents, is expanding.
Rebecca Gonzalez owned a gourmet salad chain franchise in Miami for eight years before she and her family relocated to St. Johns County in 2015 to set up the Always Caring Home Health agency, which her husband, Adrian Gonzalez, runs. In 2019, she created the 1928 Cuban Bistro restaurant at 3928 Baymeadows Road and has added locations in St. Johns County and Ortega, hiring about 25 people. The restaurant honors her grandparents, Mario and Pura Alvarado. Her grandfather, a Cuban immigrant born in 1928, left Cuba in 1961 to escape communism.
When I moved here from Miami, I was missing the food and the culture. I do have a background in the food industry. After a few years, I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to do it.’ I saw this little spot. It was an instinct, and then I just did it.
I created the menu, the look, everything. It’s a tribute to my grandparents, but mostly my grandfather because he was my father figure growing up. Pink was his favorite color, so you’ll see pops of pink in here. The menu has little names that were nicknames my grandfather gave family members. We opened in 2019.
The community really came out and supported us from the beginning. We have people who would come in and share their Cuban exile stories with me. It’s touching. We have people who just love the culture and they remember going to Miami and Tampa. Now, there’s a place for them to feel at home.
I love food, and cooking comes easily to me. Everything you see here were recipes that I’ve made at home for my three kids. I’m Cuban American, so is my husband. My mom came from Cuba when she was 3. My husband’s parents came over when they were older. His grandmother is 93 and still cooks every day.
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