Â Â Delicious Cuban/Latin Cuisine Ranks High Above the Norm
Â By Sally Deering
Â When the Hard Grove CafÃ©â€™s original owner Domenic Santana opened the Jersey City restaurant Â on Grove Street in the early 1990s, the neighborhood was not as affluent as it is today and Santana offered locals more of a diner menu where you could get a peanut butter & jelly sandwich for a buck ninety-nine.
Times have changed and the restaurant has changed hands a couple times. In 2005, Evelyn Padin and Carmen Mendiolaâ€”two practicing lawyers and Jersey City residents â€“ decided to try their hand at running a restaurant and purchased the Hard Grove CafÃ©. They kept on Chef Rafael Valdespino and the trio created a menu of Modern Latin Cuisine that is refined and delicious. Instead of the soupy beans and sticky yellow rice typically found at many local eateries, the Hard Grove CafÃ©â€™s beans are light, the rice is fluffy and both dishes are seasoned gently.
â€œCarmen is Cuban-American and Iâ€™m Puerto Rican and we were looking for something,â€ Padin says. â€œWhen we saw this place, Carmen didnâ€™t want it closing down. Like everybody in the neighborhood, weâ€™d known Domenic for years. So Carmen said letâ€™s give it a go.â€ Continue reading HARD GROVE CAFÃ‰ IN JERSEY CITY RAISES THE BAR