Don’t miss John Boyle’s feature on Leo Lopez (Habana Blues) in the News and Tribune.


To state it simply, I’m grateful that Leo Lopez and Habana Blues are here in New Albany (Ulises Garbey, too). Leo’s story is incredible, and the newspaper’s “new guy” writes it very well, indeed. Good stuff all around with this.

El Sueño Americano: How a nightmare at sea turned into the American dream for Habana Blues’ Leo Lopez, by John Boyle (News and Tribune)

How a nightmare at sea turned into the American dream

NEW ALBANY — The release and resettlement of Guantanamo Bay detainees has been a polarizing source of debate both domestically and globally for several years. Given the distance between the detention camp and Indiana, some Hoosiers might not think the issue can affect them directly. Those Hoosiers, however, may be surprised to learn that it already has.

Southern Indiana has been home to a pair of former Gitmo detainees for nearly two decades. Residents have nothing to fear, that is, unless they possess a phobia of authentic Cuban dishes.

In 2010, Leo Lopez introduced Cuban cuisine to New Albany’s restaurant scene with Habana Blues. Just 16 years prior to opening his restaurant, Lopez was a young man struggling to make ends meet in Cuba.

With dreams of finding a better future for himself and his family, Lopez attempted to make the grueling journey from Cuba to the United States by sea, which ultimately led to his detainment at Guantanamo Bay for over a year.