Key West Island Eats: Brain Power: Cuban Bread & Café con Leche

A man sitting at a table - Restaurant

Photos by Josie Koler

Many of you probably mutter this as adults: “Man if I’d had a shot of Bucci before school… I would have scored straight As!” Or, “If I had a café con leche before chemistry I probably would have whizzed through those molecular make-ups, then on to volleyball practice, and marching band…”

With the 2010 school year ready to get rockin’ and rollin’ we wanted you to know, it’s your Lucky Day!

“Some of the kids sometimes they come in for the cheese toast in the morning. They wash it down with a Coke.”

Jana Paryzkova arrived on the island over eight years ago from the Czech Republic. Right away, this Czech took to perfecting Cuban coffee and secured a long-term gig with Paradise Café. When the hotspot closed, she and her colleague, Ivo Kuzma, decided to start their own venture and landed right off Flagler Avenue on Bertha Street across from Shanna Key.

“We knew we’d open something similar. We were looking for a place and found this. We wanted a sandwich shop,” she described.

Fittingly, Jana is sporting a running skirt and Nike tee in Gator colors, indicative of all of the running she does in the front of the house.

She told us, “Somebody just ordered a coffee…” to be delivered up to Key Haven!

That’s as far as this delivery joint goes. It’s a service the business partners hope will take off once the school year really gets rolling.

“The students order deliveries to the school. They have nowhere to go! They’re stuck. Except for lunch. Some of the seniors from last year came here when they had time.”

The breakfast menu popped up after the sandwiches, and it is the most extensive menu of toasts we’ve ever seen!

Butter toast
Cheese toast
Tomato cheese toast
Ham cheese toast
Bacon cheese toast
Bacon cheese toast with tomato, ground pepper, and onion
Sausage cheese toast
And finally, Sausage cheese toast with tomato, ground pepper, and onion.

Plus, they’re peddling Egg Sandwiches, (the list is just as dramatic,) and sell BAG LUNCHES for the students with perhaps have ultra-busy moms!

Hot or cold, this isn’t Cuban food, but all sandwiches are made with Cuban bread.
“And we have potato pancakes,” admitted Jana. “Everybody loves them. We peel the potatoes and grate’em.”

Patricia Riggin works at the Salvation Army told us “It’s a constant daily stop for me. I come for café con leche in the morning and Cuban bread before work. After, I have to wait for the bus a few minutes and I’ll eat something here in the afternoon.”

Patricia wasn’t hesitant when she admitted to the Key West Weekly; she puts three sugars in her con leche!

“Three sugars. And most days I come in for a Coke after work. I really like the owners. They’re friendly and down to earth and if not busy take the time to chat. I like that. Very personable.”

The average is two sugars, Jana explained to us. Two is a regular order. Three is a little bit much. Still she said, students prefer a more sugary jolt than any cup o’ joe could offer.

“Do they order café con leche? Not really. They have Coke and cheese toast! Breakfast of the winners!”

Located at 1500 Bertha Street, the Lucky Day Café is open Monday thru Saturday from 7 am – 9 pm and on Sunday 8 am – 8 pm. They deliver as far as Key Haven.  The number is 292-2256


Co-owner Ivo Kuzma cooks up a storm in the kitchen. Formerly of Paradise Café, Kuzma is experienced in the kitchen. “There’s a secret to everything,” he said. “Everything is spiced differently.”


Grilled cheese
After a long day at pre-school and acting as Deputy Editor of the Weekly Newspapers, this little ankle-biter takes a bite out of cheese toast on wheat!



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