Bellaire restaurant Cafe Piquet serves traditional Cuban food with a twist

El Cubano con chicharitas ($9.99): The traditional Cuban sandwich contains Swiss cheese, ham, pork, mustard and pickles and is served with a side of plantain chips. (All photos by Sierra Rozen/Community Impact Newspaper)
El Cubano con chicharitas ($9.99): The traditional Cuban sandwich contains Swiss cheese, ham, pork, mustard and pickles and is served with a side of plantain chips. (All photos by Sierra Rozen/Community Impact Newspaper)

El Cubano con chicharitas ($9.99): The traditional Cuban sandwich contains Swiss cheese, ham, pork, mustard and pickles and is served with a side of plantain chips. (All photos by Sierra Rozen/Community Impact Newspaper)

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The Yuca Frita con Mojo ($5.50): Fried Yucca is topped with a garlic sauce.
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Cristina Benitez (left) co-owns the restaurant with her mother, Nelly Piquet.
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Camarónes Enchilados ($19.50): Shrimp is served in a Creole sauce with white rice, black beans and the choice of one side.
When people step into Cafe Piquet, co-owner Cristina Benitez said she wants to invoke the feeling of instantly being transported to Cuba. The warm neutral colors of the architecture and the pictures of historical buildings hanging on the walls help create the effect.

The Cuban ancestry runs deep for the family that runs the eatery. The restaurant started in the 1970s as Piquet Market, a grocery store for Cuban families in the Bellaire area and was run by Benitez’s stepfather’s parents, who were Cuban natives.

After the market closed down, Benitez’s stepfather and mother took over and opened the restaurant in a different location in 1996. The owners moved into the current Bissonnet Street location in 2006.

Benitez took over co-owning the restaurant with her mother in 2007 after her stepfather died. She said she has been able to connect with customers who have dined at all of the different locations.

“We have people who’ve been with us for decades,” she said. “It’s actually really neat, and a lot of them you’ve actually seen the families grow.”


The restaurant focuses on serving traditional Cuban cuisine with a few added twists, such as the ribs it serves with different flavorings. Being able to experiment is easy, Benitez said, because the restaurant still has its original chef.

“We always were very focused on maintaining the traditional Cuban recipes that [my stepfather’s parents] always had,” she said.

Being one of the few Cuban restaurants in the Houston area makes it easy for Cafe Piquet to stand out, Benitez said. It also draws in Cubans who are looking for a piece of home in Texas.

Benitez said she hopes to make some structural changes to the restaurant in the future, including building out an area for private parties. She said she also hopes to make a few changes to the menu, though she wants to stay as authentic as possible.

“Where we kind of see the restaurant going is a little bit of that mixing of what we have always had but bringing in something a little bit newer or creating something that’s got a little bit of a different twist,” Benitez said.

Cafe Piquet

5757 Bissonnet St., Bellaire

713-664-1031

www.cafepiquet.net

Hours: Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
By Sierra Rozen

Metro Reporter, South Houston

Sierra joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in September of 2021 after graduating with a degree in communication and a minor in journalism from St. Edward's University in Austin, TX. Sierra covers all things in the South Houston area but in particular covers Friendswood ISD, Friendswood City Council and Harris County METRO. Prior to CI, Sierra served as the viewpoints and life and arts editor for Hilltop Views, as well as interning for Austin Woman Magazine.