If walls could talk, the building at the corner of Wolflin and Western in Amarillo would have quite the story to tell. For years, that building housed the dream-made-manifest of Frank’s Bakery, an authentic French bakery and tearoom in the Texas Panhandle. Frank’s closed around this time last year. But now, the building is a conduit for the brick-and-mortar embodiment of another dream for another family—providing authentic “Cuban Food 100%” for the Amarillo community. 

Yes, Cuban Food 100% is the name of this new establishment. The name of the restaurant may be straightforward, but the flavors and dishes served at Cuban Food 100% are rich, complex, warming and nuanced.

First on the menu is its ropa vieja. Try it, and you will understand why the proprietors gave this dish top billing on the menu. Traditionally prepared with slow-roasted beef—often flank steak—the meat undergoes a tantalizing transformation over the course of several mouth-watering hours, mingling with red bell peppers until it achieves fall-apart tenderness. Infused with a medley of smoky spices, the beef emerges far from dry, though it eschews overt sauciness. The ropa vieja is served with slices of onion and rice, which perfectly complement the texture of the main dish.

The restaurant’s Cubano sandwich effortlessly strikes a harmonious chord of classic flavors. Succulent, slow-cooked pulled pork, layers of savory ham, Swiss cheese, velvety mayo, and an ensemble of impeccably sliced pickles and tomatoes are nestled in griddled, chewy, and dense, slightly sweetened bread.

After those mainstays, I recommend trying Cuban Food 100%’s a la carte take on a tamale (served topped with bacon!), an order of croquettes, arroz con gris (a Cuban classic of black beans and rice), or platano maduro frito (sweet fried plantains) to experience a few additional authentic Cuban dishes. Diners can quench their thirst with a glass of much-raved-about watermelon water known as sandia, or a smoothie made with your choice of tropical fruit. These beverages make the Cuban food experience 100% complete. 

Another excuse to try Cuban Food 100% is the fact that recent U.S. Census data show there are nearly 500 restaurants in the greater Amarillo metro area. That’s an amazing number, and makes eating out this holiday season an easy and obvious way to support our local economy—and in this case, to support another local family’s dreams. 

1923 S. Western St.

Open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m.