The Cuban government has made it easier in recent years for citizens to open and operate their own eateries, relaxing earlier rules that limited the number of seats to 12, the staff to family members and the menu to one that couldn't contain steak or seafood. "This is a chance to achieve what we always wanted," said Jose Antonio Figueroa, who quit a state-run restaurant along with two other staffers to open fine-dining Cafe Laurent last year.

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