Cuba Private Restaurants-Licenses being Withheld
Cuba private restaurants are the big success story on the island. These paladars, as they are known are a huge departure from the horrid, very basic state run restaurants of the past.
Well, these private restaurants seem to be too successful and new licenses are temporarily being withheld. They are running out of food to supply them.
The sumptuous meal above that I had was definitely not at a state-run restaurant, but a Havana paladar.
Cuba has no real method of wholesale supply of these privately run restaurants. There also is no way for these entrepreneurs to import goods. The lucky ones mange to hook up with individual growers to supply them, others buy everything than can from the black market or even retail stores. The paladars are evidently buying the shelves clean.
The entire article can be read here from one of the sources reporting the story. They quote:
Acting Vice President Isabel Hamze told state media on Wednesday that Havana’s provincial government is temporarily freezing the approval of new licenses and is inspecting restaurants to detect violations ranging from prostitution, drug use and excessive noise to illegal importation and purchase of stolen goods.
She said one business had been closed because it was operating a bar and nightclub in violation of a license exclusively meant for restaurants.
Hamze’s statements appeared intended to reassure restaurant owners and Havana residents that the measures were not a crackdown on private restaurants but rather an attempt to impose common-sense regulations on issues ranging from closing times and parking spaces.
If you have read old travel guides, they all lamented the state of culinary affairs in Cuba. State supplied rations, state supplied recipes in state run restaurants…not a good combination. The result was dull, bland, very basic fare.
The state allowed opening of paladars in different forms many years ago. These started out as a few tables in a private home or courtyard (not too many tables…didn’t want too much capitalism running rampant.)Individuals could then design and serve their own food. When the rules were relaxed to allow larger scale restaurants a boom in Cuban cuisine was born. New recipes and fusion recipes were rampant. Cuba truly had a food revolution.
However, the Cuban government can never find a way to make things smoother for its people. It can only hinder, tax and arrest people for being successful
I think you will find this to be true everywhere in Cuba: fantastic, resourceful people being hindered and regulated at every step. Central control is at its finest here.