Cuban restaurant coming to Des Plaines

Fans of media noche sandwiches, lechon asado and really strong coffee soon will have a new suburban restaurant to enjoy authentic Cuban cuisine.

Que Bola Cuban Café should open in late February at 1940 E. Touhy Ave., Des Plaines.

The roughly 1,100-square-foot spot will be a fast-casual restaurant serving Cuban dishes made on-site from scratch, co-owner Juan Manuel Fragoso said.

“We’re gonna have all the typical Cuban food,” Fragoso said. “Lechon, ropa vieja, croquetas, empanadas (and more).”

Fragoso is partnering with chef Marco Estrada at Que Bola. An 18-year veteran of the construction business, Fragoso said he initially was hired to work on the renovation but invested when the opportunity arose.

He previously had built a restaurant in Chicago for his sister and brother-in-law.

Fragoso and Estrada have applied for a $35,000 grant from the city's business assistance program to help cover the costs of improvements that already are underway. New signs and kitchen equipment are coming, and the electrical and plumbing systems will be modified, among other changes.

The city council was expected to discuss the grant request Monday night, but the matter was delayed to give the owners more time to finalize their documents.

Because the grant request is for more than $10,000, council approval is needed. If approved, the money will be delivered after work is completed.

Fragoso said construction is 95% done. He sounds eager to open, promising Latin food that’s “different from your typical tacos.”

A grand opening celebration will be scheduled, Fragoso said.

  Que Bola Cuban Cafe should open this spring at 1940 E. Touhy Ave. in Des Plaines. It will feature media noche sandwiches, lechon asado and really strong coffee. Joe Lewnard/
  Que Bola Cuban Cafe will be a fast-casual restaurant serving Cuban dishes made on-site from scratch. Joe Lewnard/
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