Mary Sanchez and her aunt Marcela opened Havana House in December 2018 with the goal of providing authentic Cuban fare—a business idea they credit to Mary’s late father.
“We decided after his passing ... to pursue this new venture ... and bring some of our culture to Magnolia,” Mary said. “And that’s where it came from. We love to cook; we have a passion for cooking.”
Located in a trailer at 5111 FM 1488, Magnolia, Havana House offers a selection of authentic Cuban fare, including sandwiches, such as the medianoche, a ham-and-cheese sandwich served on pressed semi-sweet bread; and pan con lechon, slow-roasted pork served on a round bun and topped with raw onions.
The sandwich shop also offers pastries, desserts and drinks.
According to Marcela, the business was born not only from a passion for cooking, but also a desire to pass along their family’s legacy and Cuban tradition through food.
“[Mary’s] grandmother was a great cook,” Marcela said. “She wasn’t a chef or anything like that, but she made great food.”
Mary said a number of the eatery’s customers are new to Magnolia.
“I get so many folks that have relocated from New York or Florida and they really miss what they call ‘a little piece of home,’” Mary said. “They love coming here for the Cuban coffee and all of that.”
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Havana House also offered multicultural merchandise in addition to its selection of sandwiches, coffee and desserts. However, the business had to shutter the previous location on Lago Vista Real Street due to financial hardship.
“For me quality is the most important; that’s why we’ve maintained a smaller menu but with consistency,” Mary said. “[Cuban] food from restaurants isn’t bad, but it’s not the same as homemade. The taste is completely different; it’s ... what I call the ‘real’ Cuban food, like what the locals eat.”
5111 FM 1488, Magnolia
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., closed Mon.