Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Latin Love 

This Cubano is a cut above

You never know when you'll stumble upon culinary bliss. There I was, at a modest Latin eatery in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood, when I wrapped my mouth around one of the best Cubanos I've enjoyed in a good, long while.

Even before picking up the sandwich, I spotted the signs of excellence: the right bread, a proper press and grill, an oozing of melted cheese, and mustard. Sliced in half, the sandwich revealed its contents like the geologic strata of Cuban culinary history. Sliced ham, chunky roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard — all packed into a crusty, chewy, sturdy package. In the mouth, well, it was excelente.

That sandwich ($6) can be found at El Buen Gusto, which opened about four months ago. Lilly Marchena, la dueña (owner), runs the bright, welcoming eatery with her brother and other family members. She is from the Dominican Republic, but the eatery serves a broad mix of Latin-American dishes.

The lineup features homespun rice-and-bean plates topped with roast pork, stewed chicken, baked chicken, or fried pork chops. Seafood dishes like shrimp in garlic sauce are available. The roast pork ($8.50) arrives with numerous pieces of pork brittle — cracklings of roasted pig skin — along with a mound of white rice and a bowl of stewed beans. Or you might get lucky and show up on a day when stewed goat or oxtail are on hand.

On Saturdays, El Buen Gusto ("the good taste") serves a Latin soup/stew called sancocho ($5) — a robust chicken broth fortified with whatever's on hand. Mine had big pieces of stewed beef, tender plantains, and bright herbs. Sometimes Marchena whips up a batch of mondongo, a beef tripe soup.

El Buen Gusto sits just down the street from Johnny's Bar on Fulton, at 3292 Fulton. It is open every day but Monday. Call them at 216-651-9304.

Give to Get: Now through October 7, Paladar is inviting guests to donate $25 or more to partner charities in return for a $25 Paladar gift card. Give to the Gathering Place, MedWish International, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, or Geauga Humane Society's Rescue Village, and you will be rewarded with good, free Latin grub. Diners can donate to all four charities and earn up to $100 in Paladar gift cards.

"It's really important to us to support the community that supports us," says Paladar GM Sean Latona. "This is a fun way to highlight a handful of great organizations and help them boost their donations."

Paladar is at 28601 Chagrin Blvd., in Woodmere. Read the fine print at

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 5, 2022

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • Vegan Monday @ The Winchester

    • Mondays

© 2022 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation