In case you haven’t heard, the owner of Cuban Pete’s was arrested last week for serving alcohol in his sangrias. An old Baristanet friend, who moved out of town last year, decided to visit the restaurant Friday night and filed this, ahem, interesting report. Don’t skip the jump. The best part of the story is about four paragraphs down.
We made the 40 minute trip from Wayne to Montclair tonight to take some friends to Cuban Pete’s. One of them is from Puerto Rico and wanted to try the cod appetizer and was looking forward to a cup of good, strong Cuban coffee to end the meal. I had been there before and had a great time, especially after drinking the “non-alcoholic” sangria. I had read about the owner’s arrest and was expecting maybe a 45 minute wait, but thought it was worth it.
So, we arrived at the restaurant at 7:15 and were told it would be a 45 minute wait. After having some tea and coffeee at Cafe Eclectic, we headed back over only to wait some more – we were seated at 8:30 and at a table with 3 chairs. We stood waiting for the 4th chair for about 3 awkward minutes until finally we got one.
The place was packed and we were prepared thinking they might be out of a few things and service may be slow. Our waiter came over and we said “Hi, how are you?” His response : a deadpan “Tired.” OK. We placed our order quickly and clearly but received sad news – no cod fritters for our friend, no limonada sangria and the dish my other friend order was gone too. We made the best of it and carried on.
Our appetizers came quickly and were delicious. As we nibbled away, we were treated to some live entertainment too. First, an angry customer who must have been waiting a very long time got in a loud argument with one of the staff and Dominick. He soon left, red-faced. Then, Montclair’s own Dick Grabowsky showed up wearing a neon orange outift with a shirt that said “Free Dominick”. He waltzed around with sangria pitchers for a few minutes. Our friends were impressed with all this excitement.
Then, after finishing our meal, which was delayed by about 5 minutes due to missing cutlery, we were looking forward to that coffee. As we started to order the coffee, our waiter said, “We are not serving coffee at this time.” HUH? I was utterly confused, so I said “Do you mean you’re not serving it at this minute but will a little later?” No, not serving it at all he said – too busy for coffee. Too busy for coffee? What kind of restaurant doesn’t serve coffee?
What could we do? We ordered some dessert and laughed it off, until we spied some younger patrons sipping something from what looked suspiciously like coffee mugs. But by then we had already asked for the check and had had enough of Cuban Pete’s. An interesting night out in Montclair, to say the least.