The Cuban Sandwich Factory

The Journey of Juan Carlos Arguelles and his Cuban Sandwich Factory

Author Avatar

Updated on April 19, 2024

View transcript

In the vibrant streets of Havana, Cuba, the symphony of flavours dances through the air, creating an intoxicating blend of aromas that speak of centuries of culinary heritage. Here, vendors hawk everything from fresh fruit and sizzling skewers to plates overflowing with ropa vieja and plantains, an atmosphere that, much later on, inspired the establishing of the Cuban Sandwich Factory.

This Cuban sandwich that makes that factory is a shining example of cultural fusion and gastronomic innovation. Its crusty exterior hints at Spanish influence, while the mojo-marinated pork speaks to Cuba’s indigenous cooking traditions. It was not until one man, however, who decided to take his country’s iconic dish on a trip to the other side of the Atlanice to a whole new land.

The story we are about to tell is far more than just a recipe. It is a tale of passion, resilience, and the unwavering determination of one manJuan Carlos Arguelles Le Blanche.

From Cuba to Northern Ireland

Juan Carlos, a maestro of the culinary arts, traces his culinary lineage back to the sun-soaked landscapes of Cuba, where his love affair with food began. Over two decades ago, fueled by a desire to share the rich tapestry of Cuban cuisine with the world, he embarked on a journey that would lead him across oceans to a new land brimming with promise and opportunity—Northern Ireland.

“It was in 2012 when the seed of the idea took root,” Juan Carlos reflects, his eyes alight with the memories of that transformative moment. “I yearned to bring a taste of my homeland to the North Island, but I knew it had to be something exceptional, something that would resonate with the local palate.”

And thus, the Cuban Sandwich Factory was conceived—a culinary haven where the soulful flavours of Cuban cuisine intertwine with the vibrancy of contemporary gastronomy. Nestled within the bustling markets of St. George’s, Belfast, the inaugural Cuban Sandwich Factory emerged as a beacon of authenticity and ingenuity.

With humble beginnings, Juan Carlos introduced North Islanders to the iconic Cubano sandwich—a tantalising symphony of flavours encased within a golden, crusty exterior.

The Cuban Sandwich Factory

The Cuban Sandwich Factory

The Cubano sandwich, a culinary masterpiece born on the streets of Havana, embodies the essence of cultural amalgamation. “It transcends mere sustenance; it’s a celebration of diversity,” Juan Carlos explains, his voice infused with pride. “Each ingredient tells a story—a story of the myriad influences that have shaped Cuban cuisine over the ages.”

At the heart of the Cubano sandwich lies the delicate balance of flavours and textures—a testament to the ingenuity of Cuban culinary tradition. “It’s more than a mere combination of ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, and pickles,” Juan Carlos elaborates. It’s a symphony of tastes, a culinary journey that traverses borders and bridges cultures.

Central to the perfection of the Cubano sandwich is the bread—the cornerstone upon which every layer of flavour is artfully assembled. “In Cuba, bread is not just sustenance; it’s an art form,” Juan Carlos muses, his reverence for the craft evident in every word. “That’s why I import special French baguettes, meticulously selected to ensure that every bite is an ode to authenticity.”

Expansion and Recognition

The Cuban Sandwich Factory
The Cuban Sandwich

From the bustling markets of St. George’s to the lively streets of Botanics, the Cuban Sandwich Factory has flourished, garnering acclaim and adoration from patrons far and wide. “We now boast two thriving establishments, each pulsating with the energy of those who seek to savour the true essence of Cuban cuisine,” Juan Carlos proudly declares.

Yet amidst the accolades and triumphs, Juan Carlos remains rooted in humility, ever cognizant of the journey that brought him to this juncture. “It’s more than just sandwiches; it’s about preserving a legacy, honouring the traditions that define our identity,” he reflects, his gaze fixed on the horizon.

As he gazes towards the future, Juan Carlos envisions a world where the flavours of Cuba continue to captivate hearts and tantalise palates. “The journey is far from over,” he asserts with a smile. “There are countless stories yet to be told, countless palates yet to be delighted. And as long as there exists a craving for authenticity, the Cuban Sandwich Factory will stand ready to satisfy it.”


In a realm where culinary trends wax and wane, Juan Carlos Arguelles Le Blanche stands as a bastion of tradition—a testament to the enduring power of passion, perseverance, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. As the fragrant aroma of freshly pressed Cubano sandwiches wafts through the air, one truth becomes abundantly clear: the legacy of Juan Carlos and his Cuban Sandwich Factory will endure for generations to come, a testament to the indomitable spirit of culinary craftsmanship.

Video Transcript

Speaker 2 (00:08)
Hey, my name is Juan Carlos Arguelles Le Blanche.

Speaker 1 (00:13)
I’m from Cuba. I came to this country about 25 years ago. I’m a chef, professional chef. I just decided to open my own Cuban sandwich factory. I was in 2012. We started the and this is where I’m here now. We have two shops now, one in Botanics, one here, and still will keep the one in George’s market. I started Cuban sandwich factory in the market, St. George’s. It was an idea that I wanted to do some Cuban food, but I want something simple, something that’s not too complicated. I know that in this country, people love sandwiches.

I saw a gap in the market for hot press sandwiches. We have a Cubanos sandwich, or in America, it’s very famous. And I decided to bring that for the first time here to North Island. And it was great. From day one, we have a good response from customers. What is a Cuban sandwich? Well, a Cuban sandwich is a toast, in fact. It’s a toasting, actually. It’s a hot press sandwich made because of Cuba influence on the Italian, French, the Germans, the Polish, the different culture, the Spanish, course, The Cuban sandwich is just a mix of pulp, salami, ham, yellow mustard, and crispy bread, special French baguette.

Speaker 1 (01:56)
This is what I use. This is makes the sandwich special. That is a combination of ingredients that goes of different culture. It’s what makes a Cuban sandwich. A Cuba sandwich.

Speaker 2 (02:19)
More in Cuba bread is more possible.

Share with our social media

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *