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July 11, 2011

A Miami landmark, Versailles Restaurant, is turning 40 years old on Tuesday. Locals say it’s not just the food that keeps them coming back but the family traditions. “When my dad was alive, we came here once a week,” Richard Vasquez said. “It was everything he lived for.” Vasquez was eating at Versailles Monday afternoon. Another diner, Roberto Perez has been going to Miami’s Versailles Restaurant for 23 years. He said it makes him feel at home. “The Cubans are here, and I like it,” Perez said.

In fact, that’s why a lot of people go there to eat _ and because of the food. “They have everything on the menu. It’s well-priced. There’s a great ambiance. They have great service,” said Vasquez.

The Calle Ocho restaurant doesn’t just bring in Hispanic people, but it’s a hot spot for politicians like former presidential candidate Rudy Guilliani, current New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Rick Scott.

Tourist Matt Quinn, Atlanta, Ga., was enjoying his very first meal at the famed restaurant. “We made sure to come here. My wife said, ‘That’s where my father used to take me,'” Quinn said.

And for three generations, the restaurant’s owners, the Valls family, turned part of a Miami street into a Cuban-American landmark four decades ago, and it’s still going strong. “Happy birthday,” Quinn said. “I hope they’re here for another 40 years, so (my son) can bring his kids.”

Versailles will have a Cuban-style birthday party at the restaurant Tuesday from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. which is open to the public.

Source: NBC Miami