Medina's Grocery, hub for Orlando's Cuban community, closes after 43 years

Medina's Grocery Store & Restaurant at 2405 E Washington St. in Orlando has closed because owners Rafael and Luisa Medina are retiring. The market was a hub for the Latino community in Central Florida for 43 years.

"Medina’s was the heart and soul of the Cuban community of Orlando," said Mel Martinez, former U.S. Senator and Chairman for Southeast and Latin America for JPMorgan Chase. "It was a place to buy or eat Latin food but much more than that. It was a gathering point to connect, to talk, to feel and be Cuban. Luisa and Rafael were dedicated to serving and helping."

While Hispanics have spread throughout Central Florida, Medina's remained the small, old-fashioned mom-and-pop bodega it was when the doors opened in 1970.

"Medina’s was an institution in Orlando," said Cesar E. Calvet, president of CNLBank Banco Latino. "Some of us called it City Hall 2, based upon all the politics that transpired there. And it was also the go to place to buy the products that we had grown up with in Cuba."

The City of Orlando is honoring the Medinas at 2 p.m. Monday June 3 at City Hall.

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