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 oneUpdate:  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

31 Comments

  • i find the food to be too heavy for lunch, but go here for the cafe con leche (brewed when ordered) and batidas. if its realy busy the service can be gruff and unsmiling but either before or after the lunch rush its quite pleasant.

  • When placing orders expect a rude person on the other side. This was my experience with the 40th’s street and 7th location. I will be ordering from Tina’s.

  • rudist staff on earth. stay away

  • Cheats, Liars & Rude: Ordered delivery: they completely missed 4 lemonades and an iced tea the day before. When caught, they denied it and hung up the phone. They should, and may just get sued until I get the iced tea i paid for.

  • Note to readers: The two comments directly above this one by z & t were written by the same person…

    Whoever this is, tread lightly. we don’t appreciate restaurants trying to hurt their competition by posting fake comments.

  • Zach – appreciate you calling them out, but please do not discourage “z” and/or “t” from making legal history by suing Tina’s over an iced tea.
    @ t – please keep us posted on your law suit.
    @ z – what is a rudist?

  • DDR

    rudist = ben, at a naturalist outing

    he could also be called a crasshole

  • Wayne – not bad. Not bad at all.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    wow…the fried pork (or heart attack special) is the best sandwich in midtown…for sure! Try it and you’ll be back. I find I’m going there twice a week… and the price don’t suk either.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    …ps. the staff wasn’t rude either.
    …pss. I went to the 56th st loc.

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