Havana’s Pilon Brings Cuban Food to Downtown Memphis

Posted by Holly Whitfield | May 30th 2013 7173 0

Attention, Cuban food lovers: a dedicated Cuban restaurant called Havana's Pilon is now open downtown.

The special today was ropa vieja, and being unfamiliar with Cuban food, that's what I ordered. It's on the regular menu, but as a special, it came with two sides and a drink for about $7.50 (with tax).

Ropa Vieja from Havanas Pilon

I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was excited about what I got: a plate of tender shredded beef that had been cooked with bell peppers in a thin, but flavorful, tomato-based sauce. It was meat perfection.

For my sides, I had plantains and yucca. I like plantains, and Havana's Pilon's were better than others that I've had. Imagine really good hash browns (or potato pancakes) fried into fist-size, quarter inch thick chips and you've got the right idea.

plantains and yucca from Havanas Pilon

I had never had yucca before, and to be honest, I'm not sure that I will again. I'm one of those people who's weird about food texture, so this wasn't exactly my thing. Next time, I'll go with the rice and beans.

The restaurant has only been open about two weeks, but they were on their game. The staff is very friendly, the food came out quickly and they sent out a little bowl of soup for me to try before my food was ready.

I'll definitely be back to Havanas Pilon. The food was delicious, it's crazy cheap, and there are other menu items I'd like to try: the arroz con pollo, the mofongo, and the seafood salad, an item whose menu description just says "Taste the secret!".

I can't find a listing of the hours (and it's not printed on their menu), but I can tell you that it's definitely open during the day for lunch. The restaurant is tiny (it seats maybe 12 people) so plan to either go early or get your food to go.

Go there:

Havana's Pilon

143 Madison Ave.
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 527-2878

Havana's Pilon on Urbanspoon

Show Comments


  1. Paul Ryburn says:

    The hours are 7 to 7 Monday through Saturday.

  2. Suzanne Abbott says:

    Hope Paul Ryburn has the correct days / hours but their website (CONTACTS) has Monday – Friday 11am-2pm.


  3. p says:

    Try the tropical smoothies – especially maracuya

  4. Justin B says:

    I was in last night and can confirm, hours are Monday-Saturday, 7AM to 7PM. And I can confirm that the Cuban sandwich is friggin' awesome!

  5. Thanks for your comments. We openned just to weeks ago but as of today we have received your support. We will continue working hard in order to improve our service and a variety in our menu.

    As per our customers requests we are considering open until 9:00PM Monday thru Saturday.

    Now we can seat about 22 customers, but we are looking for more space for you.

    One flag of the country of our customers will be placed in Havana's Pilon… please
    let us know your country and you will see your flag when visit us.

    Thanks for your support!!!

    Marialys Gonzalez / Pedro Pena


  6. William Colon says:

    This is, by far, the best place I have ever been…. and it’s 7am to 7pm..

  7. lizz gon says:

    Yes !!! They open from Monday – Saturday 7am -7pm.. They make delicious food. Specially empanadas and mofongos.. they even decorate the food very pretty.. I go there almost everyday for lunch. Very friendly and cheap !! It has tables outsides and inside !!

  8. Flor Gómez says:

    Bendiciones. Esa comida se ve riquísima. Que DIOS LOS BENDIGA GRANDEMENTE Y SE LLENE ESE RESTAURANTE CADA DÍA.

  9. Tony Guevara says:

    Awesome food,truly authentic  cuban cuisine. im not cuban but grew up in Miami eating and flavoring such delicacies. been living in Memphis for 17 years and had to go back to Miami to  enjoy the food and now very happy to know that is at second and madison downtown. GRACIAS AMIGOS POR HAVANA PILON!!!!!!!!! 🙂


  10. Nicole says:

    So glad you posted about this place.  Took my husband and kids there this weekend.  Enjoyed the ropa vieja and the cuban sandwich, beans and rice, and plantains.  The soup they served while waiting was AMAZING.  The owner was so kind.  Can't wait to go back when they have sweet plantains and see how they compare to ones I've eaten in Miami and in Hispanic countries.  They were listed but were out of them.  Hooray Memphis for great dining choices!

  11. Wilfredo H says:

    As a native Tampanian (not to be confused with the feminine product) who is moving to Memphis in 2 weeks, I cannot wait to try this little piece of home! 

  12. PhilC says:

    Can't wait to try it.  There used to be a Cuban selling bean soup at the Farmer's Market.  Does anyone know where I can find him?


  13. Gigi Ballester says:

    I LOVE Cuban food.  New York City, Miami and San Juan, PR have the best Cuban food and I am looking forward to eating here next week.  Taking my son for his birthday – he also loves Cuban food.  Do not confuse Cuban/PuertoRican food with other Caribbean food – no comparison – Cuban food is very flavorful and tasty without being spicy.
    I am hoping they will have a website with a menu and pictures.
    Muchas gracias Marialys Gonzalez y Pedro Pena!

  14. Chris Enlow says:

    Great food and friendly service. I’ll be eating my way through the menu.

  15. Zandra says:

    I am from south Miami and Cuban parents. I am looking forward to trying thing place. I hope it meets my Expectations. 

  16. Lourdes Rexach Relyea says:

    Ay que rico!!!!!! Finalmente un restaurante con comida caribeña en la ciudad de Memphis! Voy pa'llá tan pronto pueda!!

  17. Yolanda Rodriguez says:

    I recently moved here from Miami. I am of cuban heritage(second generation cuban). I miss cuban food. I can cook some at home but I cannot find empanadas de guayaba,materva ,batidos de mamey ,croquetas de jamon or bacaditos. My family and I plan to visit the restaurant soon because the menu is very authentic cuban. I feel like I am going home!!!Cannot wait.

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