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Urban Butcher’s Cuban-Born Chef Is Bringing His Native Cuisine to a New Silver Spring Restaurant

El Sapo is opening in August with lots of aged rums

Chef Raynold Mendizábal is opening El Sapo this summer.
Urban Butcher/official photo
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

As Petworth prepares for the imminent arrival of Little Havana, another festive Cuban restaurant’s also getting ready to open in downtown Silver Spring.

The al fresco El Sapo Cuban Social Club (8455 Fenton Street, Silver Spring, Md.) is projected to debut some time in August with mojitos, upbeat music, and island-inspired flavors from chef Raynold Mendizábal, who runs five-year-old meat mecca Urban Butcher a short walk away.

About half of the in-the-works menu will be packed with plates he ate while growing up on the streets of La Habana (think: ropa vieja, a classic Cuban dish with pulled stewed beef and vegetables). The known rum lover is also curating a lineup of aged varieties that’ll be served off a cart.

The design calls for a dual open-air bar that spills out onto a spacious private patio. An adjoining sidewalk cafe will perk up customers via Cuban espressos and evolve into a hot spot at night with dinner and cocktails. The day-to-evening setup is similar to that of D.C. and Sterling’s Colada Shop, which is currently in expansion mode.

A lively Sunday brunch scene is projected to feature churros, Cuban street food, and live music. Silver Spring recently got another eating and drinking option with the addition of Tacos, Tortas and Tequila (TTT) and Buena Vida.