Yambo – The Jitney Restaurant of the Month

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I don’t know what year it was that I was first introduced to Yambo. the Nicaraguan restaurant located at 1643 SW 1st St, Miami.

I know it was late. Maybe 3 or 4 in the morning, on what seemed like a wasted night where my friends and I were undoubtedly rejected by an endless array of women.

We pulled into the parking lot and stepped around all kinds of odd memorabilia from a coin operated pony to a monument to the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío to get in line. When we got to the counter we ordered in Spanish and the servers seemed utterly confused with what to charge us when they learned we were vegetarian. Sometimes when they filled our styrofoam container with gallo pinto (mixed beans and rice), maduros (fried sweet bananas), and a cabbage salad, it would be two dollars. Other times three, on one hallowed night they charged me a buck fifty for an insane amount of delicious food.

It became a late night tradition. For years whenever the night lost any hope, we would head to Yambo and eat our sorrows and loneliness away.

Yambo Is a Treasure Trove of Deliciousness and Kitsch

Now all these years later whenever I find myself in the neighborhood, I find a way to detour to Yambo. The 24 hour eatery has become a type of comfort food that has never disappointed. I’ve added corn tortillas to my plate, along with some fresh cut Florida avocado if I see it being offered, but the price is still crazy cheap. There are no listed prices for any items that I could ever find. But I’ve found whatever you think you are going to pay it will be half that. It might be the only restaurant in South Florida where you can easily feed a family of five for under twenty bucks.

And close to twenty years later they still look at me with uncomprehending eyes when I don’t accept their carne asada.

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David Rolland

David Rolland edits the JitneyBooks.com blog. He is the author of the novel The End of the Century.