Malibu welcomes its first solar-powered restaurant with the opening this month of Café Habana. A project of restaurateur Sean Meenan and his sister, Leslie, it’s the third in a collection of “eco-eateries.” The other two are in New York City.
The latest location, inside the Malibu Lumber Yard, blends colorful Latin design elements with retro accents inspired by the classic American diner. Among the green design components: staff uniforms made from recycled denim and organic cotton, a salvaged wood bar that Meenan found in Deadwood, SD, and benches made from repurposed wood from New York’s Coney Island boardwalk, cold cathod lighting (which uses 80 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs), using old cooking oil to fuel Meenan’s 1965 Lincoln Continental, and takeout bags and cutlery made from sugar cane, potato or corn.
All three Café Habanas offer Latin-inspired cuisine meant to evoke the comfort and ease of a home-style meal. Options include traditional and modern takes on platos fuertes (main dishes), sandwiches, salads, ceviches, and burgers along with sides such as red or black beans, twice-fried plantains and grilled corn served with chili powder, lime and cotija cheese.
Meenan modeled his locations after Café La Habana in downtown Mexico City—a bustling, bohemian space known for attracting Cuban and Caribbean expats, musicians, celebrities and politicos.