Restaurant News: Update on Cuba Libre Transformation

Tristan Simon leads. Partiers follow.

Tristan Simon, the Pied Piper of Henderson Avenue, has formed a partnership with Donald (Park) Chick to redo the old Cuba Libre space. Simon’s Consilient Restaurants is the controlling partner and will oversee the food and operations. Chick, a “significant minority partner,” will be in charge of transforming the space. “He did a great job at Park,” says Simon. “His lead hand is his ability to design concepts.”

The transformation of the interior also extends to the food. No more Cuban or Caribbean cuisine, Simon has promoted long-time Consilient employee and current executive sous at The Porch, Hector Hernandez, to take charge of the kitchen. The menu will be “Elevated Mexican Cuisine” and built around a large selection of Mexican street foods and regional specialties. “It will be an urban interpretation of Mexican foods and based on sharing,” says Simon. “The space will be extremely social and party oriented with chef-driven fare and an exciting cocktail program.”

The name has yet to be determined and I think we should have a say in the name of the place we may soon choose to party. Name it. Go.


  • Darren

    F!cking great! Just what we need, another Mexican place! I loved Cuba Libre because of their Cuban and Carribian menu. Their sandwiches were head and shoulder above what La Cubanita was attempting to serve. My friends and I would meet there every Friday afternoon in the summer to enjoy the frozen cuba libres and the great food.

    Sorry Tristan, you just lost several long-time customers!

  • Reese

    This is very disappointing to read as the unique food and drink menu is what made Cuba Libre a standout place to go for cuban/carribean food. As they say, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Very sad.

  • scmilli

    Name for an “Elevated Mexican” concept. How about Najera’s?

  • Worzel Gummidge

    Hector Hernandez’s on Henderson?

  • Chris

    Really!!!! Can this be any more orignal? I think just in a 5 mile radius of Cuba Libre there are 1,000 “upscale mexican” places. I go there at least 2-3 times a month because there isn’t much else in Dallas like it. The food is bad a$$ the drinks are amazing, but sorry Tristan, this is probably the worst idea. Another over priced tex-mex place in dallas. Now we have 1,001 to choose from.

  • Bill K

    Q1: How can it be street food-based if it is cooked in a fancy schmancy kitchen?

    Q2: What if I don’t want to share?

    Thanks, Tristan!

  • Shawna

    I’m extremely disappointed that they would change Cuba Libre. It stood out from all of the other restraunts in Dallas because of its unique and well-executed cusine. I really hope the new partners will review the comments on this blog and reconsider their decision to change such a successful concept. If they are interested in an upscale Mexican restaurant, why not open it as a new place and leave Cuba Libre as is?

  • i understand the sentiments of some of the posters above, but D. Chick has had the Midas touch since he was organizing parties back in our SMU days. He and Tristan are going to make a helluva team.

    Kudos Donald…best of luck.

  • worst. news. ever.

    ¡Viva Cuba Libre!

  • Former diner

    This is awful news. Cuba Libre was wonderful. Will probably never go to this new turbocharged mexican restaurant. Epic fail, Tristan.

  • hungry

    If Hector’s running the kitchen, I’m there! He’s a great guy and great chef!

  • MP

    For a name, I think “Fiesta de la Salchicha” would work nicely.

  • Worzel Gummidge
  • Knox Harrington

    Sounds like a bar with food as an afterthought,not to say the food won’t be great,but is’nt that what Park has become.

  • Marge

    No Thanks, tristan

  • Twinwillow

    On Henderson it’s always, bar first, food second.
    Wait! Make that valet parking first, bar second, and food, third!

  • Frank

    I always thought the food at Cuba Libre was overrated and the whole concept a little “gimicky”. I realize that I may be in the miority here and that’s ok…….just my opinion. I do agree with most of the sentiments posted here though. Another Mexican food joint is just not needed in Dallas. I’m not a big fan of Mexican food and can “take it or leave it”. I’m surprised that Tristan couldn’t come up with a more original idea than this.

  • Luis D

    yeah srsly,
    fuck this.
    cuba was awesome.

  • Glenn Campbell

    How about “the wait at tei tei was too long cantina”

  • @frank

    i too am genuinely surprised to hear 1) everyone remember the food at CL so fondly and 2) seem shocked that real estate like that will be a bar with food and not a restaurant.

  • m

    I always through Cuba Libre was tremendously overrated. The thought of another Mexican joint doesn’t thrill me, but given their track record, I’m curious enough to try it at least once.

    I’d be more excited if it was going to be Peruvian, though.

  • m

    Thought, not through. Yeah.

  • too bad

    Really upsetting. There are 1000 Mexican restaurants in Dallas and the only two Cuban restaurants have now closed? Where will I get my plantain chips now? ):

  • fescue

    “Midas touch”?

    La Condesa worked out soooo well for Chick..and have you battled the crowd at Park lately? Didn’t think so…’cause there ain’t no crowd at Park. Whatever.

    Food at CL always sucked. Food at Park (except the baked goods) seriously downhill, as if nobody paying attention. Upscale, “shared” Latin street food is an oxymoron that Alo already proved doesn’t work just 2 blocks away. But this is Henderson, the new DB Central.

    “Fiesta de la Salchicha Borrachos y Groseros”

  • m

    When did Alo prove it didn’t work? Pre-fire, that place was always packed when I was in there.

  • Dev

    Very sad news! My family, friends, and I frequented Cuba Libre for the fare. The Plantain Chips were the best. We celebrated several birthdays and special occasions there. Very sad indeed…

  • cbs

    I was a CL lunch regular. It is missed. If only Park’s food was as good as its decor/atmosphere. oh well, lot’s of other options in the area.

  • emily


    Donald Chic does nothing but steal concepts!!!!

    modeled after this restaurant, even has bocce court and same name!:

    La Condesa
    Do you guys remember the (doubt it) the design on the windows and the mexican wrestling inspired wall, none less the menu!:

    Dont give this guy any credit please.

  • luniz

    with a concept like “High Mexican” I think they should name it after a drug gang. Seriously though the elevated street food thing is pretty old.

  • Limestar

    >>>>>CHUPA CABRA<<<<<<<<<

  • what happened to free CUBA?

    Simon will suck the blood right outta this city

  • I’ve never understood why it was so fashionable to trash this guy. For every Sense there’s been a Hibiscus, for every candle room a Porch. All he’s done is turn a sleepy little strip of antique shops and run down real estate into a perennial hot spot for Dallas dining. Given the track record, I’ll hold off on writing this place off.