Bangor firefighters assist with cleaning up after a car crashed into the front of Cubita Libre Cafeteria in Bangor. Credit: Courtesy of Jeff Wallace

A car crashed through the front of Bangor’s only Cuban restaurant Thursday morning, causing major damage to the facade of Cubita Libre and forcing the Hogan Road eatery to close until it can make repairs.

Danielle Durel, 44, of Bangor crashed into restaurant at about 8:30 a.m. Thursday, according to Sgt. Wade Betters of the Bangor Police Department. Durel told police that her foot slipped onto the gas pedal as she was parking in front of the restaurant, Betters said.

She was issued a court summons for driving with a suspended license, Betters said.

The Bangor Fire Department responded to the crash. No one was injured, and the restaurant, which is located in the Maine Square Mall shopping center, was closed at the time of the collision.

Cubita Libre sustained major damage to its front facade, with the door frame knocked out of place, brickwork smashed, and one of the support pillars from the overhang in front of the building destroyed. The restaurant is closed until further notice.

Credit: Gabor Degre

Cubita Libre offers Cuban and Caribbean cuisine, including its popular (and enormous) Cuban sandwiches, Ropa Vieja beef, empanadas, Cuban coffee and other classic dishes. Owners Sigfredo and Jennice Rodriguez opened it in August 2016, and the restaurant has since built a devoted following among local foodies and members of the Bangor region’s Hispanic population.

The Rodriguez’s have launched an online fundraiser to help with the costs of rebuilding.

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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.