The new restaurant Kuba has taken the reins at the former Cha Cha Cha at Mission and 19th streets, and they’re keeping it Cuban with the jerk chicken and famed sangria pitchers.
When the Mission District sangria-and-tapas staple Cha Cha Cha closed last summer (the Haight Street location remains open), the San Francisco Business Times was quick with a June 30 update. “The restaurant has been sold to new owners, one of whom has been identified as retired tax auditor Mario West,” that paper reported, adding that another owner was “associated with” Panchita's Pupuseria, and that “Cha Cha Cha will relaunch as ‘Kuba’ on July 5.”
Well, restaurant openings always take longer than planned in San Francisco. But Tablehopper reported Tuesday that Cha Cha Cha has reopened as Kuba, and according to an Instagram post, the restaurant opened on April 8. In a clever homage to the the 1990s-era Cha Cha Cha, the sign on Mission Street calls it “Kuba at Original McCarthy’s,” a nod to the Mission Street Cha Cha Cha originally being called “Cha Cha Cha at Original McCarthy's.” Original McCarthy’s was the bar’s early post-Prohibition name.
And the old 120-foot long Cha Cha Cha bar is still intact at the new restaurant. Yes they still serve sangria, plus beer and wine, and the cocktail menu is highlighted by a rum-based Kiwi-Chata Colada and a raspberry whiskey drink called Rikí Ricardo.
The ambiance largely remains the same, and the menu is quite similar to Cha Cha Cha. Some menu items even retain the same name, like CHA3 jerk chicken, plus old Cha Cha Cha standbys like ropa vieja and vaca frita. Plantains are still served, plus the addition of yuca fries.
Though there are a couple of interior changes, like this Cuban-inspired mural by Eyan Higgins Jones. And yes they are planning Cinco de Mayo activities, with $5 tapas and $5 cocktails from 4-11 p.m. this Friday.
Kuba is now open at 2327 Mission Street (at 19th Street). Hours are Monday-Thursday 4 p.m. - midnight, Friday-Saturday 4 p.m.– 2 a.m., and Sunday 4 p.m.- midnight.
Images: Joe Kukura, SFist