- February 1, 2016
Walking in the door of the newly-opened Mojo’s Real Cuban restaurant, a customer gets an instant sniff of a future lunch— roasted pork, buttery, pressed bread, savory sauces.
From the usual pressed sandwiches to ropa vieja (shredded beef in tomato sauce) rice bowls and yucca fries, co-owner Adam Myara offers up a taste of Caribbean cuisine to Lakewood Ranch. The restaurant operates similar to a Chipotle, he said, but without burritos. Customers can order sandwiches, platters or rice bowls, choosing the rice, meats and sides. The traditional Cuban desserts, like flan and tres leches, are homemade, too.
“You don’t usually get thanked for opening a restaurant,” he said with a laugh. “People really had the need for a place like this.”
The restaurant is located at 11161 East State Road 70, off of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard near Publix. Myara, his brother and co-owner Austin, and manager Ryan Bender held a practice night Saturday so staff could get a feel for the routine. Initially, the evening was supposed to be staff preparing menu items for friends and family, but people kept walking in off the street, curious to
try the new place.
“We just let everybody in,” Myara said.
Since soft-opening Monday, the joint has been busy — more than expected without advertising, he said. Its proximity to Lecom has brought in a lot of students. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Myara is no novice to the restaurant business. His father, Albert Myara, owns Bogey’s Sports Pub in Venice and downtown Bradenton. The Lakewood Ranch High School graduate grew up in the restaurant; his father co-owns Mojo’s, as well.
“I’ve been busing tables since I was 6 years old,” he said.
Myara and his brother aren’t stopping now, either. They are planning to open a second location in Sarasota, in the Hillview area.