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Cafe Habana: Why Malibu?

November 4, 2009 |  6:00 am

Habana The 'Bu seems an unlikely spot for a new branch of Cafe Habana -- a New York-based mini-chain of hip Cuban cafes located in Manhattan's Nolita and Brooklyn's Fort Greene. But the way partner and bar impresario Rande Gerber (Whiskey Blue, Stone Rose) sees it, he and his family -- including wife Cindy Crawford -- needed a place to eat besides Giorgio Baldi.

"I live in Malibu and have always wanted to open a restaurant here in the neighborhood for my friends and family," says Gerber. "Something casual, family-friendly, a place you can go on a date, or with the kids at 6 o'clock, or for a late-night meal.

"I think there are a few good restaurants in Malibu, very few. You can have a great Italian meal, there are a few places for sushi, but no place you'd really want to go more than once a week."

So Gerber approached Cafe Habana owner Sean Meenan, who says he jumped at the opportunity. "Rande had been to the restaurant and dug it, and he found the space," Meenan says. "There had been a few other offers, I'd been thinking about the Country Mart in Brentwood. I wasn't in the right mindset. But I'm so excited to be opening up in Malibu."  The Malibu Cafe Habana, at the Malibu Lumber Yard shopping center, is set to open "at the very beginning of the year," he says.

Meenan has a place in Venice and calls the drive from Venice to Malibu "one of the best drives in the whole world, especially for a New York guy; it's like 'Wow, this is God's country.' " Expect a Venice Cafe Habana to follow.   

-- Betty Hallock

Photo credit: Cafe Habana

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