We had heard rumors regarding Bongos at Disney Springs, but now we have confirmation. Here’s the scoop from the Orlando Sentinel.
Disney Springs restaurant Bongo’s Cuban Cafe will close in August, owner and Cuban-American pop icon Gloria Estefan said during a visit to Central Florida on Thursday.
Bongo’s Cuban Café will leave the Disney-owned dining and entertainment district as its 22-year lease ends in summer.
“They are growing in a different direction, and we are growing in a different direction,” Estefan told the Orlando Sentinel at the announcement of a new restaurant, Estefan Kitchen, opening at the Margaritaville Orlando Resort. “So we thought a fresh start is wanted.”
Bongo’s is one of the oldest celebrity-run concepts left at Disney Springs. The theme park has pushed for remodels at many of its concepts, including Planet Hollywood and a relocation of Wolfgang Puck’s eatery. It’s also brought in new celebrity restaurants from names such as Jose Andres and Art Smith.
Bongo’s serves Cuban-style cuisine such as churrasco, vaca frita with seafood such as shrimp and fish. It also has a quick-order menu outside for pedestrians.
But the Bongo’s brand has lost momentum. Locations at the Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Florida, and the American Airlines Arena in Miami also have closed.
Estefan said they want a “transition” to the new restaurant at Margaritaville Resort Orlando.
Her husband and business partner, Emilio Estefan, said it also gives them the chance to expand beyond their Disney Springs roots.
“And we wanted a nightclub,” Emilio Estefan said. “I think that’s a part of the Latino experience.”
Stay tuned for more updates as we hear it!
Photo from Bongos Disney Springs