Cuban Revolution Rumbles into American Tobacco

As if a performing arts center and an internationally renowned light sculpture were not enough, here comes another new addition which should make the growing number of theater-goers and American Tobacco Historic District patrons just a little happier. American Tobacco management announced recently that they are in the final stages of negotiations with Rhode Island-based “Cuban Revolution Restaurant and Bar” ( and hope to open in mid-2009.  Picked as the best new restaurant in 2008 by the Rhode Island Monthly, Cuban Revolution is known for its spicy mix of Cuban tapas, and décor and music from the 60’s –when the Rat Pack, Bardot and Marilyn were center stage and the promise of revolutionary Cuba filled the air.

Owner Edward Morabito said the addition of North Carolina to its two (2) Providence locations was based on the combination of growth potential and architecture in the American Tobacco Historic District.

“We have done extremely well with a similar location in the renovated Mill District on the west side of Providence. American Tobacco has the same arts and entertainment appeal that we think will be really successful for us.”

Michael Goodmon, Vice President – Real Estate, said, “Cuban Revolution is one of the most talked about restaurants in Providence and we’re delighted to bring such a buzz to downtown Durham.” Goodmon said this addition is indicative of an overall elevation of attention to unique dining that is befitting a growing downtown entertainment district.  Earlier in the year, management added Saladelia, a locally owned and operated deli featuring organic coffees, teas, and grab-and-go sandwiches and salads.

In a related venture, Ben Benson’s, a high-end steakhouse based in New York and slated to open in 2009 in the renovated Power House building, has been delayed due to the economic downturn.  Owner/Founder Ben Benson said, “We are still very excited about Ben Benson’s involvement in the American Tobacco Campus. We are confident the space we have designed and the product we will bring to Durham, will produce the finest steakhouse in North Carolina.  We are anxious to proceed as soon as this economic ‘perfect storm’ has passed.”  Goodmon said that the renovation of the Power House is on-going and almost complete. Recently, PocketGear, Inc., the brainchild of Jud Bowman, one of the founders of Motricity, moved into their brand new offices on the penthouse level of the building.

Cuban Revolution will replace the Symposium Café, a founding partner when the American Tobacco Campus first opened in 2004. Goodmon said that the American Tobacco management appreciates the contribution that Symposium Café made to the campus. The Symposium Café’s last day of operation will be December 23rd, 2008.

The American Historic District is downtown Durham’s Entertainment District home to restaurants, businesses, luxury apartments, the Durham Bulls Athletic Park and the new 2,800-seat Durham Performing Arts Center.

Thanks to ATC’s Michael Goodmon for this capcom story.


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