Our proud history begins in the small town of Yaguajay, Cuba, where Pepe Diaz was born. As a young man, Pepe began cooking to avoid working in the fields. It was in those early teenage years that he found his passion for food.He set out to begin his career in Spain, working in popular “Meson” restaurants and refining his skills. He started formulating a vision for his future, moving to America and opening his own Meson restaurant. That’s when Pepe moved from Spain to Miami, Florida in the year 1973. Upon his arrival, he started working at La Esquina De Tejas, a popular local restaurant, where he had the pleasure of preparing a delicious meal for President Ronald Reagan. Pepe’s personal life also began to flourish with his wife Cachi and moved to Key West with sons Jose Augusto, Jose Manuel, and daughter Thania.
In 1979, Pepe began working at the “Cuban Club” in Key West, Florida and simultaneously opened their local family-run grocery store, Tony’s Grocery. The Diaz Family firmly planted their roots within the Conch community and instantly gained notoriety for their delicious deli sandwiches and Cuban Coffee.
In 1986, it was time for Pepe’s vision to become reality as the family sold the grocery store and opened the first “El Meson De Pepe” on Duval Street. The restaurant became a staple within Key West as the home of authentic Cuban Cuisine. As the years went by the family and the business continued to grow. In 1997, seeking a bigger location to accommodate their growth, El Meson De Pepe found a new home in Mallory Square.
For over 30 years, Chef Pepe Diaz and his family have been dedicated to pristine quality, authentic Cuban Cuisine, and the preservation of Cuban Conch Heritage in Key West.