Don Francisco’s Coffee Casa Cubana – A Night of Photography and Coffee

All Photos by Billy Bennight for The Los Angeles Beat

Since its opening last summer, I’ve visited Don Francisco’s Coffee Casa Cubana in DTLA on a regular basis. Wednesday was an exceptional opportunity to become more familiar with the coffee establishment’s menu. It was a night to taste their Cuban fare as well as an opportunity to photograph the decor, food and drinks of this DTLA oasis.

As the Facebook invitation said, “Join us for a photography field trip to one of the most photogenic cafés in Los Angeles: Don Francisco’s in Downtown L.A. Not only is this café known for its gorgeous and elaborate interior design and décor, but it also serves some of the most delicious Cuban staples (pastelitos) and coffee in the city.”

When I arrived, Don Francisco’s was already packed with photographers. People were angling for the “Great Shot” of the delicious spread laid before them while enjoying, wine, beer and a variety of coffees. The baristas were at the espresso machine pouring fresh brewed coffees, lattes, Café Cubanos, Cortadito and many other beverages served with precision and elegance.

Photo Gallery After The Break

The evening continued with people mingling as camera flashes filling the establishment. I had a moment to speak with one of the owners of Don Fransico’s, Leonor Gavina-Valls, who informed me about a key component of their quality control called cupping. Cupping is a process that ensures the consistency of the flavor and quality of the brews being served. I told Leonor how much I enjoyed the Cuban sandwiches they were serving. I found the sweet pickle really a nice touch on the sandwich, and Leonor informed me that they make their own pickles and mustard. It was unspoken, but I’m sure that’s the real Cuban way. It was a truly feel-good moment to know that this is a family endeavor where the passion to deliver an authentic experience eclipses the corporate mentality. There were trays of Pastelitos, Papa Rellenas, and Pastelitos de Carne to self-serve these tasty Cuban delights as the photographers occupied every corner of the store, creating lasting memories.

I like to think of Don Francisco’s Coffee Casa Cubana as my special tropical vacation spot in DTLA, where you can enjoy a leisurely island vibe surrounded by Cuban inspired decor, use the internet, meander around the choices of the Cuban cuisine offered and sip on a varieties of different coffees to make your day more civilized and rewarding.

Billy Bennight

About Billy Bennight

Billy Bennight is a writer and photographer with expertise and years of experience in these disciplines. His musical youth started as a Punk Rocker and has expanded into exploring many genres of music, with a keen interest in art, fashion, photography, and writing. He shoots celebrity and red-carpet events for ZUMA Press. He is also a member of the Los Angeles Art Association. His images have been published in The Los Angeles Times, People Magazine, Parade, Wall Street Journal, and French Elle, both Vanity Fair and Vanity Fair Italia. He's very engaged in life. You an see more of his work at ZUMA Press at You can follow him on his Facebook page at: and on Instagram and Twitter @billybennight
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2 Responses to Don Francisco’s Coffee Casa Cubana – A Night of Photography and Coffee

  1. Monique A. LeBleu says:

    I had no idea this place existed, shame on me! (But now I know.) This is great and everything here looks so good!!!

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