Here’s a brief history of the building and how we came to be:
Originally the building was a Shell gas station in the 1920’s. It later operated as a Dairy Queen for many years until it was turned into an all-American breakfast joint called Rick’s Ol’ Time Café. Rick’s did a thriving breakfast business for 18 years before selling to Niki Stavrou and Victor Valens in 1999, who co-founded Victor’s 1959 Café. The building has been a gathering place in the neighborhood since its Dairy Queen days and continues to be a big part of the community as Victor’s 1959 Café.
Why Cuban? Co-founder Victor was originally from Cuba and with no other Cuban restaurants in the Twin Cities, it was an obvious choice. During the first five years they became well known as a “hot spot” for breakfast and for authentic Cuban food. In 2003 they were visited by the Food Network and featured on the “Best Of” Breakfast Spots show hosted by Jill Cordell.
In 2004, dinner service with wine & beer was added and Niki soon took the helm in the kitchen cooking for breakfast, lunch and dinner service. In 2007 she bought Victor’s interest in the restaurant and, as sole owner/operator, Niki continued the Cuban theme using all the traditional Cuban recipes, added tropical outdoor patio dining and remodeled the interior of the quirky little building.
In 2008, the Food Network paid its second visit to Victor’s 1959 Café and featured it on their popular show hosted by Guy Fieri, called Diner’s Drive-ins and Dives. It was super fun, check out the video above! Later in 2008, Niki turned her knives over to a capable kitchen staff and stopped cooking to focus on her duties as owner/operator.
Today business continues to grow and Victor’s 1959 Café is serving more happy customers each year. Niki Stavrou is still owner/operator and looking forward to welcoming you to the island…