By Vanessa Vieites
Every day around Miami, people gather outside the windows of Cuban bakeries—from Vicky Bakery to La Carreta to Versailles—to enjoy their daily doses of cortaditos, pastelitos and fresh gossip. On Thursday, Nov. 21, FIU celebrated its newest cafecito hotspot called La Ventanita, an extension of the Barnes & Noble at FIU Café located at the entrance of the Graham Center.
Emblematic of Miami culture, La Ventanita is a place for students to comfortably gather during their breaks or grab a quick bite and pick-me-up before class.
“I’m thrilled with the opening of La Ventanita here at the entrance of the Graham Center,” President Mark B. Rosenberg said. “La Ventanita represents the unique and best of Miami culture. Our community thrives on cafecitos and this will be an important social gathering area for the university and, ultimately, the community.”
La Ventanita brings back fond memories for Isabel Alfonsín-Vittoria '90, whose grandfather opened up a similar window café in downtown Miami in 1956 after arriving from Cuba. Her father then took over the small cafeteria and ran it for 50 years, working tirelessly to build up what became a staple of Miami’s Latin culture.
“It’s very sweet to have something that became a legacy in Miami to become a legacy at FIU, where I’ve spent most of my life as a student and as an employee,” said Alfonsín-Vittoria, director of FIU’s Employee Assistance Program. “It feels like coming home every day.”
In honor of Spirit Day at Barnes & Noble at FIU, Rosenberg and Alfonsín-Vittoria took the first sip of coffee, fresh from La Ventanita. Afterward, the café offered free coffee and pastries to visitors for two hours.