Nostalgia is the main aphrodisiac luring the crowds to what the uninitiated will perceive as a pretty ordinary Cuban restaurant in a brand-new shopping center. When the original, divey location of Havana Sandwich Shop burned to the ground several blocks south on Buford Highway, a piece of Atlanta's history went up in flames.
The new spot is a chip off the old block: same family, same potted plants, same awards, same menu, and, alas, same indifferent Cuban sandwich. The picadillo—Cuba's answer to the Sloppy Joe—and the boiled yuca doused with mojo criollo are favorites. One also can't go wrong with the black bean soup, the deeply caramelized maduros (ripe plantains), or the filling empanadas.