Cuban eatery to expand with plans to open second Belfast outlet
A popular Belfast Cuban restaurant is set to open its second outlet in the city by moving into the premises recently vacated by the failed barbecue chain Bubbacue.
The Cuban Sandwich Factory, which runs its flagship operation from Queen's Arcade in the city centre, has said it will expand into the former barbecue chain's south Belfast unit on Botanic Avenue.
Bubbacue shocked its staff and customers when it entered liquidation in July 2018 and shut its two outlets in Belfast.
It later transpired that the company, owned by John and Karen Blisard, left debts of more than £1m.
At one stage, the business had benefited from a £400,000 taxpayer-funded loan to support its growth.
Now The Cuban Sandwich Factory has confirmed it will take on the south Belfast premises Bubbacue vacated last year.
Upmarket burger restaurant Tribal Burger, which also runs an outlet on Botanic Avenue, has already occupied the former Bubbacue premises in Callender Street in Belfast city centre.
The business run by husband and wife team, Paul and Elaine Catterson, invested £180,000 in the new venture in November, creating around 20 jobs.
Now Cuban Sandwich Factory will soon join the food offering at the busy south Belfast thoroughfare close Queen's University. Originally a staple among the many food stalls in the bustling St George's Market, Carlos Arguelles' specialised Cuban cuisine became a permanent presence in the city in 2015, when it opened premises at the Fountain Street end of Queen's Arcade.
The Victorian-era arcade will soon undergo a £2m facelift after Belfast City Council approved the refurbishment proposals of its owners Lunn's Jewellers, whose flagship store is in the shopping mall.
Lunn's said businesses will remain open during the work.