Mourning the state of cafecito in Hialeah

cafecito.jpgMy hometown of Hialeah, what is likely the most Cuban-American city in the United States and a place where 92% of its residents are Spanish speakers, has been forever changed.

A Starbucks has opened. And on the big 49th Street no less.

If you’re not familiar with Hialeah, it’s a place where the tiny shot of 50-cent Cuban coffee is king. It’s a place where the tiny paper cups of hyper-caffeinated black cafecito are served up through a window, and big yellow water coolers are kept on the windowsill because the stuff is so strong. And this is no small town either; it’s the fifth largest in Florida, making it more populous than Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.

starbucks.jpgThis development is akin to finding a McDonald’s in Iran or an Outback Steakhouse in India. Unsettling.

The idea of a Starbucks in Hialeah has long been a topic of rueful speculation in my family. “Will a Starbucks ever open?” we wondered. “And will it last?” We love the vanilla bean frappuccino but feel strange about having it parked too close to home.

For better or worse, it feels like the culture of my hometown is changing and that one of the strikingly unique places in this country is being whittled away.

[Photos by augschburger and presidentservelan]

About Danny Sanchez

Danny Sanchez is the Audience Development Manager at Tribune's Sun-Sentinel.com and OrlandoSentinel.com. Danny has been with Tribune since 2005 in a variety of editorial, digital and product development roles in Hartford, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. He has also previously worked in the newsrooms of the Tampa Bay Times and The Miami Herald.
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