Cafe Sofrito’s pernil sandwich has become a neighborhood favorite

Photography by Caleb Condit & Rebecca Norden.

In the Caribbean, sofrito is a mix of herbs rich with onions, garlic and sweet peppers that’s used as a dip, a base for stews or a sauce with rice. One of the dishes sofrito often finds itself in—especially in Puerto Rico—is pernil (roast pork), often eaten on special occasions such as Christmas.

At the bright yellow carry-out spot Cafe Sofrito (3731 Main St., KCMO), the juicy shredded pernil comes as a sandwich with crispy fried potato thins and mayonnaise spiked with the restaurant’s namesake herb blend.

It’s simple compared to many preparations, says chef and manager Jose Garcia, eschewing other sauces you’d find in the Caribbean that would dampen the appeal for the regulars, many of whom work in the neighborhood. His formula is working, as you’ll often see a line snaking out the door of Cafe Sofrito, which took over for a vegan burger spot in Midtown.

The guy in front of me never went to the vegan burger spot but said he’s here a couple of days a week now. He’s eaten his way across about half the menu, returning often for the shredded beef arepas, sweet plantains and that pernil sandwich.

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