For nearly three decades, La Septima Cafe has served authentic Cuban fare to the Brandon community. Through a change of location in 2011, having to abruptly shut down due to COVID-19 and struggling to find people who want to work, the restaurant is constantly adapting and continues to attract a crowd daily and nightly.
“Without our community support, we would probably not be here today,” proclaimed co-owner Dahlia Fernandez.
She and husband Ronnie have spent a majority of their lives in the restaurant business.
“We have never looked back. La Septima is our crown jewel,” she said.
Truly family-owned and operated, daughter Jennifer handles human resources and accounts payable while son RJ is the general manager. Recently, eldest granddaughters Ana and Adriana also joined the team.
“Working with family has its challenges, but it has more advantages,” said Dahlia, referring to herself and Ronnie as the ultimate overseers. “It is truly a blessing to have all the watchful eyes on the business.”
Throughout the years, the Fernandez family has remained true to its product and true to its loyal patrons.
La Septima’s tagline, “A Taste of Old Ybor,” is exemplified throughout the menu with items like ropa vieja (flank steak), breaded palomilla steak and pescado a la Rusa (whitefish). Other offerings include soup, salad, sandwiches and combinations. The Cuban sandwich, devil crabs and Seventh Avenue salad are the most popular and come highly recommended.
“Our success comes from our passion to keep every menu item consistent in flavor and quality,” remarked Dahlia.
La Septima’s family meals, introduced during the pandemic, also are a big hit and a great bang for your buck with most priced at $39.95. Suitable for a family of four, guests can choose from a selection of the signature dishes, all of which come with rice, salad, black beans, Cuban bread and a 2-liter bottle of soda.
At La Septima, everything is made from scratch, including the salad dressing, soup, flan, cheesecake and everything in between. Dahlia stressed the importance of quality food and a friendly staff, noting that the latter proves to be more difficult.
“We have made so many friends along the way through these years; we are mostly grateful to this beautiful community for our success,” she added.
La Septima Cafe is located in La Viva Plaza at 702 W. Lumsden Rd. in Brandon. Dine-in, takeout, delivery and catering are available. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., and is closed on Sunday. Visit www.laseptimacafe.com or call 813-685-0502 for further details.