Tina’s Enters the Cuban Food Battle, as Sophie’s Takes Two Steps Back- 4 Steps Forward
Fans of the latin food chain Sophie’s Cuban might have noticed something strange about two of their three Midtown locations. The branches of Sophie’s that were located on 56th btw. 5+6th and on Madison btw. 33+34th, are now called Tina’s Restaurant. Both storefronts still have the same menu, and what appears to be the same food… only now they are called Tina’s instead of Sophie’s.
According to a Sophie’s rep:
“Sophie’s has been a family operated business for over ten years in Manhattan. There arose a difference of opinion about how to operate the business among the family members operating Sophie’s Cuban Cuisine restaurants. Sophie’s management believes that outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value to our guests are the most important elements of our business. Tina’s is no longer associated with Sophie’s Cuban Cuisine.”
Based on that quote, you would think the issue was one of standards, but according to one of the employees at Tina’s it had more to do with franchising fees, and the fact that the members of the family who own the two Tina’s locations just didn’t want to pay them. The owner of Tina’s didn’t return my calls.
Still, Sophie’s soldiers on with their franchising. Finally, some news on the 40th St. location- plus a new food court location, after the jump…
The Sophie’s website has finally been updated to say that the location on 40th St. btw. 7+8th (which has been under construction for a year) will open on March 1st, but like all Midtown dates, it’s tentative. Either way, the grand opening will be a free food day, just like the grand opening of the 56th St. location. Their rep also told me, in addition to the new 23rd St. location, and new downtown Fulton St. location, there will also be a food court location added sometime soon on 3rd Ave. in Midtown- although he wouldn’t disclose which food court. (My money is on this one. Update: According to a commenter there is some action in the Pampano Taqueria food court on 3rd Ave., so it may be that one as well…)
The interesting thing about the Sophie’s “family” is that they are originally from Peru. They started serving Cuban food at their business because they thought it would be more popular. At this point, with so much Cuban food in Midtown, I think we’re ready for some Peruvian food! Are you listening Tina???
Tina’s Restaurant, 179 Madison Ave. (btw. 33+34th), 212-679-3500
Tina’s Restaurant, 23 w. 56th St. (btw. 5+6th), 212-315-4313