Ricky is fed up with working in show business. He wants to retire from the entertainment world and open up his own business. Fred likes the sound of the idea, too, so the guys decide to buy a local diner together. Ricky's dream is for a diner that sells traditional Cuban food, so rather than argue over whether the diner should be called "Ricky's Place" or "Fred's Place," the gang settles on the name "A Little Bit of Cuba."
Because Fred and Ethel have the diner "knowhow" and Ricky's got the "name" that brings in lots of customers from the club, unequal division of the labor soon follows. Fred and Ethel are stuck behind the counter "doing all the work," and Lucy and Ricky are up front "having all the fun." When Ricky treats Fred like a mere servant by snapping his fingers and calling out, "More butter here!" Fred and Ethel have simply had enough. They toss their aprons at Lucy and Ricky and storm out.
Without the Mertzes' "knowhow," the good business that the diner once had is now gone. Ricky is confusing Lucy with incorrect diner speak, and Lucy's messing up every order she gets. The Mertzes triumphantly return to find the place completely empty. Lucy and Ricky won't agree to share the work, so they decide instead to split the diner down the middle and see which couple gets the most business. Ricky and Lucy have the left side, which remains named "A Little Bit of Cuba." Fred and Ethel get the right side, which they sarcastically name "A Big Hunk of America."
The first customer to come in the divided diner is a drunk bum. The Ricardos and the Mertzes fight over the bum, continually lowering their hamburger prices to entice the bum. The feud is interrupted when a man delivers a fresh batch of cream pies. Lucy acts as though she's going to throw one of the pies at Ethel, but she decides to put the pie down.
When their backs are turned, the bum throws a pie at Ethel.
A four-way pie fight ensues:
Ethel thinks Lucy threw the pie, so she retaliates and throws one back at Lucy.
Lucy then tries to get Ethel back, but Ethel ducks and the pie hits Fred instead.
Amidst the chaos, Ricky tries to throw a pie at the Mertzes' and hits Lucy by accident. Lucy then hits her husband square in the face with a pie.
The hilarious sight of themselves covered in pie renews the Mertzes' friendship with the Ricardos'. They sell back the diner and continue their lives as best friends.
And what happened to the lone pie not used in the brawl? Ricky gives it to the bum as a thank you gift. And when the bum finds out that Mr. Watson makes a ton of money off of selling and buying back the diner from naive business ventures, he pies Mr. Watson as punishment.
- Not counting "Ricky's LIFE Story," which was really a season 2 episode, "The Diner" and "The Black Wig" are the only two episodes in season 3 that had their filming and broadcast order switched. "The Diner" was filmed first but aired second. The set of "A Little Bit of Cuba" ended up becoming the set for the restaurant where Black Wig Lucy and Geisha/American Indian/Eskimo Ethel go to meet Ricky and Fred for the fake blind date in the following episode.
- Fred and Ethel were once stranded in Indianapolis for an unexplained reason, and while they were there, they got a job in a diner. This is how they know common diner speak. The diner slang that they used in the episode were these phrases:
1. "Adam and Eve on a raft- wreck 'em!" (scrambled eggs on toast)
2. "Walk a cow past the stove, and don't cry over it!" (rare hamburger without onions)
3. "There's a gambler in the house!" (hash)
- The original name of the diner was "Bill's Place."
- The "Little Bit of Cuba Special" is a "hamburger patty smothered in Tobasco sauce and mashed bananas between two tortillas." It's little wonder none of the customers ever ordered it!
- To be spiteful, Lucy gives the drunk bum a dollar from the cash register to give to Ethel, in exchange for 100 1-cent hamburgers.
- Lucy: Everybody got up and left [the Tropicana] and went into the nightclub across the street.
Ethel: Well, how'd they manage without electricity?
Lucy: Liberaci was playing there.
- Lucy: You never have to worry about what kind of mood [Fred]'s going to be in.
Ethel: Yeah, he's ALWAYS got a porcupine in his pouch!
- Fred: How do you think I feel, worrying every time a tenant's gonna move out? And listen to all their silly complaints! "My drain is stopped up!" "I've lost my key!" "When are you gonna fix my leaky faucet?"
Lucy: Say, listen- speaking about leaky faucets, when ARE you gonna fix it?
Ethel: Uh, not now. No, not now, Lucy...
- Ricky: What's wrong with [buying] a delicatessen?
Lucy: I can just see it- Ricky Ricardo's Delicatessen, Cuban-style blintzes.
- Fred: After all, we've got a few bucks put aside.
Lucy: Oh, have you, Ethel?
Ethel: Only every dollar we've ever made, that's all.
- Ricky: How 'bout a cocktail bar?
Ethel: (firmly) NO.
- Ethel: Fred and I have the know-how and Ricky has the name and Lucy has... Uh, Lucy has, uh...
Lucy: My name is the same as his!
- Ricky: I was just thinkin' out loud, you know, but how 'bout "Ricky's Place" [for a diner name]?
Fred: You know, I had the same thought?
Ricky: You did?
Fred: With one slight change.
Ricky: What's that?
Fred: "Fred's Place."
Ricky: Now, look, Fred, yesterday, you said that you got the know-how and I got the name. And my name a'int "Fred"!
Lucy: Look, I think people like to eat where a woman does the cooking. I think we should use a woman's name.
Ethel: What woman's name did you have in mind?
Lucy: Well, it starts with an "L."
Lucy: That's right!
- Fred: "More butter here!"
- Ethel: You just put the meat on the griddle, and when your face gets redder than the hamburger, it's done!
- Lucy: Ricky has to be here greeting guests. He has a name!
Fred: Yeah, and I know what it is!
- Lucy: Well, it's hard to keep track of that many orders.
Ricky: What are you talkin' about? They were each here at different times!
- Lucy: Yeah, well, the next time you want hamburgers without onions, ASK for hamburgers without onions. Don't stand there and yell, "Bring the bull in the ring, and laugh in his face!"
- Fred: I told you, Ethel. This guy knows two songs- "Babalu" and "You've-Got-the-Know-how-I've-Got-the-Name Blues"!
- Fred: You had the name!
Ricky: Yeah, and you had the know-how. Where's your know-how now? We've got no customers no how!
- Fred: (sees Ethel copying Lucy by giving bum flirty wink) Ethel, we're trying to get him over here, not drive him away!
- Ethel: At least we put MEAT in [our burgers]!
Lucy: And just WHAT are you insinuating we put in ours?
Ethel: I'm not saying, but you can bet on it in the afternoon and eat it at night!