Our History | Estefan Kitchen
Gloria and Emilio Estefan have been promoting their Cuban Heritage through their restaurants as well as through their music since they opened Larios on the Beach at 820 Ocean Drive in 1992.
From the beginning, their vision was to bring authentic Cuban food in an atmosphere that celebrates the spirit of Cuba in its heyday right to the heart of South Beach. Gloria’s great-grandfather, Pantaleon Perez (on right) was the Head Chef at Cuba’s White House during two presidencies and Gloria’s grandmother, Consuelo Garcia Perez was already helping him in the kitchen by the age of 12. Consuelo came to the United States at 56 and she started a catering business that allowed her to purchase a home, make a comfortable living and earn the love and respect of all the
people she helped with her humanitarian spirit and delighted with her culinary prowess. Gloria grew up in the kitchen with Consuelo and not only developed a love of cooking but also knew how much her Grandmother dreamed of having her own restaurant one day. And it is for this reason that Gloria and Emilio, who Consuelo loved as if he were her own son, opened Larios on the Beach, in honor of both Consuelo’s dream and their beloved Cuban Heritage.
Larios on the beach became their flagship restaurant as they expanded the vision by opening Bongos Cuban Cafe in Orlando, in Florida’s Downtown Disney in 1996 then Bongos Cuban Cafe at The American Airlines Arena in Miami, Bongos Cuban Cafe at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, FL and Bongos Cuban Cafe at Miami Internation Airport. Estefan Hospitality also grew with the addition of the historic Cardozo Hotel on 1300 Ocean Drive in 1993 and in 2006 Costa D’Este, an award winning 4-Diamond property in Vero Beach. It was named one of the top ten celebrity owned hotels in the world and is in Travel and Leisure’s top 100 list. Its cozy oceanside restaurant, The Wave was voted Diner’s Choice Winner Best Overall, Best Ambiance and Best Food on OpenTable.
Gloria herself developed the crest that represents the brand. Inspired by the Cuban Crest, it has the sun representing the Gloria Estefan Foundation, which has already donated millions of dollars to many diverse causes, a dolphin and a flamingo both Florida Treasures, an American and Cuban flag laying side by side representing their dual patriotic nature and the Bongo man, logo for the Bongos Franchise. The crest is surrounded by the Hibiscus and the Palm, native to both Florida and Cuba and is crowned with a pineapple, the symbol that sits high atop both Bongos Cuban Cafe Miami and Orlando. The ribbon under the pineapple reads “to serve mankind” which is something Emilio and Gloria love to do and was chosen by Gloria both for that reason and as an inside joke that they dare anyone to guess winner gets a free drink!
With a clear vision, the Estefans have continually experimented and pushed the envelope, blending Latin, pop and world rhythms that have created a unique style and personality.
This vision transcends the music field and spills over into film, television, hotels and restaurants, among other endeavors. They have supported a myriad of philanthropic causes and through the Gloria Estefan Foundation
they fulfill their life long dream to touch the lives of people in need in real and positive ways.
Their foray into the hospitality business was a result of their desire to promote their culture through food as well as music. With the introduction of Estefan Kitchen, they plan to infuse more of their roots, history and experiences into their already will established properties, taking them to a whole new level and preserving their
legacy for their children, grandchildren and future generations.