LIVING LOCAL | Coqui's Cafe boasts old diner feel in downtown Ne - WDRB 41 Louisville News

LIVING LOCAL | Coqui's Cafe boasts old diner feel in downtown New Albany

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What makes Kentuckiana unique? Is it the food? What about people or places? Each Thursday on WDRB News at 11 p.m., we'll take a look at the people, places and things that make Kentuckiana special in a new weekly series, “Living Local.”

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- In the heart of downtown New Albany on the corner of Market and Bank Streets is a little place with a big taste.

Elvin Torres and his wife Stephanie opened Coqui's Café back in May 2015 in the old "Little Chef" building. With its signature L-shaped counter and red leather stools, it's one of the few mini-diners left in the U.S.

"Coqui is a frog that's indigenous to Puerto Rico, and I wanted everyone to know that I was Puerto Rican," Elvin Torres said.

The former DJ-turned diner-owner dishes out a little taste of Puerto Rico five days a week. From rice and beans and pulled pork to pollo, or as we say, chicken. 

With signature sauces, sandwiches and seasonings, it's very different flavors from more familiar Mexican foods.

"Their first question is usually is it spicy? It's like no. And what is an Empanada?" Stephanie Torres said.

Regulars from the old "Little Chef" can still sink their teeth into some good ole' fashioned southern cooking.

"We make waffles, pancakes and different types of omelets, burgers," Stephanie Torres said.

It's a perfect fusion of Latin and southern flavor, down to the fresh-baked breads and signature sweets. 

"Everything is deep fried and smothered in something," Stephanie Torres said. "So you know it all goes well together."

But more than pastries and platanos, customers are coming back again and again for the companionship.

"It's real enjoyable to meet people and talk to people," Wayne Walisser said. "You sit at the counter, and they cook right in front of you."

Although they're admittedly in some pretty tight quarters, diners insist it's all part of the charm. 

"Everywhere you turn now-a-days you're looking at a chain store," Walisser said. "And you never get home baked bread in a chain store!"

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