Dos Croquetas is about to blow up.
For Alec Fernandez, a Cuban-American living in Miami, Sunday mornings always included a trip to the neighborhood ventanita with his father, where the two would line up outside a small window to order hot Cuban coffee, flaky pastries, and crispy croquetas.
“As I got older, I started to catch on to this phrase all the Cubans say inside the bakeries,” he says. “‘Dame dos croquetas,’ which means ‘give me two croquettes.’ But what I also noticed was the difference between traditional bakery croquettes and gourmet versions largely inaccessible to average diners.”
That’s why two years ago, Fernandez and his catering-chef aunt, Victoria Carballo, launched Dos Croquetas as an online delivery service, where they offered high-quality, hand-made croquettes for less than the price of a Starbucks coffee. And now, they’re gearing up to launch nationwide shipping and open one of the first croquette bars in the country.
“We’re trying to bridge the gap between Cuban-Miami bakery and an upscale Latin restaurant,” Carballo says. “We’ve gotten messages from people in Hawaii, New York, and Tennessee asking for our croquettes. When you leave Miami, they’re not very available, especially at an approachable price.”
Sometime in spring or summer, Dos Croquetas will set up shop inside a 1,200-square-foot space in Miami’s Westchester neighborhood. With indoor and outdoor seating, the restaurant will offer a line of unusual croquettes paired with beer and wine flights. Cuban shakes, made with a cheesecake base, croquette melt sandwiches, and house-made Cuban bread will also be served.
Made by hand and produced in small batches, their croquettes take about seven hours to make, between prepping, cooking, frying, and cooling. Flavors include traditional ham, cheese and roasted tomato, and the 305, which is stuffed with Cuban-style picadillo, sweet plantains, and queso blanco with guava aioli. Then there’s sweet versions, filled with Oreo, guava, or Fruity Pebbles. Each one sells for around $2.25.
Nationwide shipping is expected to launch before the end of 2019 and will be available through the company’s online store. With that, Fernandez hopes customers around the country will recreate the same tradition he, and many other Cubans, grew up with: Waking up Sunday morning and biting into a croquette.
“It’s unbelievable that in just two years we’re launching across the country and opening a bar focused on croquettes,” Fernandez says. “But there’s a demand for it. People may move away from Miami, but that doesn’t mean they should lose the food that feels their soul.”
Dos Croquetas. 10505 SW 40th St., Miami.