Gator Dining partners with local Cuban restaurant Mi Apá Latin Café

Select menu items will be featured in several on-campus dining areas beginning Sept. 7. 


As another semester of Zoom classes and uncertainty begins, students can find a new on-campus menu of Cuban sandwiches and other popular dishes, starting Sept. 7. 

Mi Apá Latin Café has long been a Gainesville staple, serving authentic and affordable cuisine made from old-world Cuban recipes since 2003. Now, thanks to a new partnership, select menu items will be featured in several on-campus dining areas, including the Chomp & Go at the UF Health Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Institute building, Gator Corner and Fresh Food Company.

Peter Ynigo, Mi Apá Latin Café co-owner, and his team were approached by Gator Dining in July and eagerly worked out a deal to start including their food on UF menus.

After working previously with the UF Athletic Department and other UF organizations, Ynigo hopes this introduction of Mi Apá’s food will mark a growing partnership with the university.

To Ynigo, Mi Apá is a perfect on-campus option because the restaurant is well known amongst UF students and has been serving the community for 17 years and counting. 

This partnership is part of a larger effort to incorporate more local restaurants into campus culture at UF, said Matt Mueller, director of Food and Beverage Services at the UF Office of Business Services.

“One of the first restaurants I ate at in Gainesville when I got here two months ago was Mi Apá,” Mueller said. “The more we understood that Mi Apá was not only a Gainesville favorite but a UF favorite, we reached out to Gator Dining and told them we thought the restaurant would be a good fit for campus.”

Mi Apá’s sandwiches will be available for purchase in the Chomp & Go location at the UF Health Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Institute building. 

As part of the partnership, other dining halls on campus like Gator Corner and Fresh Food Company will begin to incorporate signature Mi Apá dishes into their Monday rotations like pollo asado and ropa vieja, Micah Baumstein, operations manager of Mi Apá, wrote in an email to The Alligator.

The dining halls on campus will start “Mi Apá Mondays,” with featured items available for lunch at Gator Corner Dining Center and dinner at Fresh Food Company.

Tamara and Amanda Raymond, alumni of the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions, run a popular food Instagram account, where they featured Mi Apá dishes regularly during their time as students.

“The partnership is great because Mi Apá is a fresh local place, not like other longstanding chain restaurants on campus like Chick-fil-a and Panda Express,” Amanda Raymond said. “This will add a local flair that the on-campus dining scene has been missing.”