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New Tucson food truck serves Puerto Rican, Cuban dishes

New Tucson food truck serves Puerto Rican, Cuban dishes

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A new food truck is bringing the flavors of Cuba and Puerto Rico to Tucson streets.

Cucusa’s Caribbean Cuisine launched last week and offers a rotating menu of traditional meals from the region, including pastelillos, a Puerto Rican turnover served both sweet and savory; a Puerto Rican rice plate with roasted pork; and ropa vieja, a shredded beef offering that’s considered one of the national dishes of Cuba.

Dayami “Dee” Exposito, who owns and operates the truck with her daughters, Lucy and Andrea Exposito, was born in Cuba, but raised in Puerto Rico.

Dayami Exposito’s father still operates a food truck in Humacao, a municipality about 35 miles southeast of Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan.

“I know both styles of food very well,” she said.

Exposito has lived in the Tucson area on-and-off for the last decade. Her husband first moved the family to Arizona while working for Intel and is now an engineer with Raytheon.

Having grown up in the food service industry, Exposito often dreamed of owning a restaurant.

“Cooking is something that I’m really good at,” she said. “It is my passion.”

But with her husband’s jobs moving them every few years, and children to raise, Exposito said she had to put those dreams on hold.

Now that her kids are grown, the timing felt right.

Exposito opted for a food truck over a brick-and-mortar restaurant to keep costs down. Her daughters have joined her in the venture.

“I am doing what I love and have my two daughters by my side,” Exposito said. “It is everything I wanted.”

Exposito admits that opening during a pandemic has its challenges, but says the response since their grand opening last week has been positive.

They’ve attracted customers from the business parks and breweries where they’ve set up, but also through word of mouth amongst members of Tucson’s Puerto Rican and Cuban communities.

Only a small handful of restaurants in Tucson, places like Asian Sofrito, in the old Wild Garlic Grill location on North First Avenue, serve traditional dishes from the region.

“A customer from Puerto Rico showed up the other day and ordered one of each item on the menu,” Exposito said. “He was like a kid in a candy store. It almost made me cry.

“Both types of customers make me very happy; the ones who want a taste of home and those who are excited to try something new.”

Contact reporter Gerald M. Gay at

ggay@tucson.com or 573-4679.

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