Our Short History
How we’ve started Rice & Beans Cocina Latina.
Rice & Beans Cocina Latina is an Orlando Cuban restaurant, family
owned and operated by Laz Gonzalez, native of Cuba, and his
Dominican-born wife Kenia Gonzalez.
In the year 2004, following Laz’s vision and entrepreneur spirit,
they decided to move to Orlando from their longtime home in Ridgefield,
New Jersey. In 2006, they invested all of their savings in their first
business, a coffee shop in Altamonte Springs, FL, but what they really
wanted to do was run a successful business where they could offer their
culture, something they felt was lacking here in the heart of Orlando,
“Real food, Simply Good” as the slogan says. That’s how Rice & Beans
Cocina Latina was born.
Encouraged by friends, family and members of their church Metro, they
decided to make their dream a reality. In 2008 they opened their first
location in Waterford Lakes, with the help of family and a few
employees. The dishes are authentic Cuban-Dominican recipes passed down
from friends, mothers and grandmothers. Opening day, they were
overwhelmed by the response of their customers…they had a full house!
Word-of-mouth has brought Rice & Beans Cocina Latina to where it is
“Rice & Beans Cocina Latina is the inspiration of two hard
working people who have passion for what they do, element that has
helped us to succeed, Kenia says. We are cooking exactly what you would
find in our home countries. We wanted to bring back the way our
grandmothers used to cook, everything fresh. It’s all cooked right
here.” She added.
Within their first year of operation, they earned the reputation for
being one of the top three “Best Latin Food” in Central Florida, by My
City Eats Magazine, and have been reviewed by two of the most reputable
food critics in Orlando, Heather Mcpherson of the Orlando Sentinel and
Scott Joseph of Orlando Home & Leisure Magazine. Last but not least
they have been graciously reviewed by their customers in Yelp and
Laz & Kenia Gonzalez
Since the beginning, their goal was to provide their customers the
best customer service, great atmosphere, clean restaurant, affordable
prices and the most important thing, delicious food.
While Laz helps with the shopping and accounting for the restaurants,
Kenia runs the day-by-day operation of the restaurants, making sure
that the concept is delivered exactly as they dreamed it.