Spend 24 Hours Supporting Hispanic-Owned Businesses
From a store full of homemade items to fan-favorite restaurants, Hispanic-owned businesses add to Charlotte’s vibrant culture.
by Charlie Leonard
Whether you’re visiting Charlotte or you call the Queen City home, here’s how you can spend 24 hours supporting businesses owned by members of the city’s Latino and Hispanic community.
If you’ve never had a Colombian breakfast, that’s about to change. Both owners of Mi Tierra are originally from Pereira, a mountainous city in Colombia known for its vast coffee-growing region, so you can rest assured that the dishes are authentic. Opt for the Desayuno Mi Tierra, a filling entrée served with a cheese-covered corn cake, pork rind, sausage and sweet plantains, or the Huevos Pericos, with scrambled eggs with green onions and tomatoes. Wash your breakfast down with a fresh cup of coffee at any of Mi Tierra’s three locations in Pineville, South Charlotte and Plaza Midwood. On your way out, grab a Pan de Bono, a Colombian cheese bread, for the road.
Pineville-Matthews Road is home to many great South American restaurants tucked inside large shopping centers that you otherwise may miss. Case in point, Las Americas, a delicious Colombian restaurant in the Tower Place Festival Shopping Center. Serving a variety of scrambled egg plates for breakfast, Las Americas packs a protein punch to get your morning started right.
After you’ve had breakfast, treat yourself to something sweet at The Batchmaker in Wesley Heights. Owner Cristina Rojas-Agurcia, known as “The Batchmaker,” grew up baking cakes and brownies for bake sales in Honduras before moving to the United States in 2006. With plenty of local and national acclaim to go around, The Batchmaker is one of Charlotte’s most popular bakeries. Grab one of the famous oatmeal cream pies and sit for a bit inside the chic dining room. You’ll want to get there quick because everything goes fast.
Head over to Pura Vida Worldly Art in the vibrant NoDa neighborhood. Owner Teresa Hernandez opened the store in 2004 with a simple mission: introduce the shoppers in Charlotte to the rich traditions of artisans from around the world. These traditions are displayed through rich collection of art, crafts, jewelry and other wares in Hernandez’s store. This includes everything from Frida Kahlo earrings and embroidered dresses from Mexico to crosses and peace signs made in Uganda.
By now, it’s lunchtime, so head over to Plaza Midwood for some of Charlotte’s best ceviche at Calle Sol. Inspired by the sun-soaked beaches of Florida and the dynamic cuisines of Peru and Cuba, you’ll find four types of ceviche dishes alongside Cuban sandwiches, croquetas and chaufa, a Chino-Latino stir-fried rice. If you’re ready for a cocktail, pair your dish with a classic rum drink like a mojito, fresh daiquiri or pisco sour.
If you’d rather have tacos, a short drive down Central Avenue brings you to Tacos El Nevado in East Charlotte. Each taco rings up at only $3 and they’re packed with your choice of meat, cheese and fresh veggies. Some of the more popular options include tacos with steak, chicken, beef barbacoa, al pastor pork and tongue. No matter what you choose, a side of chips and guacamole is a must. For more lunch options, try the Chuleta de Cerdo braised pork loin at Los Paisas or a rotisserie chicken with sides at Hello Chicken, both in Pineville.
After lunch, enjoy some retail therapy at El Potrero Western Wear, in the Eastway Crossing Shopping Center, where you’ll find plenty of Western-style hats from the United States and Mexico. Choose a classic straw cowboy hat or browse the selection of boots, shirts, jackets and accessories for men and women.
When the shopping is done, dinner time is just around the corner. For something quick and delicious, order grab-and-go from La Caseta at Camp North End. Owners Dalton and Miriam Espaillat, who also own Sabor Latin Street Grill, built a vast menu of “Mother Made Latin Food” for your culinary delight. Pick one of the pupusas, a griddle cake dish from Honduras and El Salvador, filled with your choice of meat then order a Mexican Coke to drink.
Ready for round two of Cuban food? El Puro Cuban Restaurant in Madison Park has become one of the hottest Cuban restaurants in the Queen City. Themed after 1950s pre-revolutionary Cuba, the menu features staples like Cuban sandwiches, croquetas and empanadas alongside entrees with rich cuts of meat, handcrafted cocktails — like the restaurant’s take on a pina colada — and strong, Cuban-style coffee. The decor and ambiance stay true to theme with cigar-brown walls, neon signage, a classic hot rod outside on the patio and live music every night.
Mixing Japanese and Dominican cuisines into a harmonious bliss, Bocao Sushi at the AvidXchange Music Factory offers a unique dining experience. Not only are you eating some of the most creative rolls, known as “sushi aplatanao,” — sushi that’s been adapted to fit into the Dominican culture — you’re also sipping exotic cocktails and listening to live DJs from this vibrant lounge. It’s a great change of pace from a traditional sushi experience.
Another exceptional fusion concept is Yunta in South End. Opened by Bruno Macciavello and Randy Garcia of Viva Chicken acclaim, this upscale restaurant blends the Incan tradition of “yunta,” friendship, and nikkei, a 100-year-old Peruvian-Japanese culinary style. If you love vibrant flavors, precise techniques and a special cocktail program revolving around Peru’s pisco sour, this is the place for you. Choose one of the ceviches, tiraditos — Peruvian sashimi — or unique wok dishes.
For the perfect nightcap, head over to Salud Cerveceria in NoDa. Owned by Jason and Dairelyn Glunt, the latter a native of the Dominican Republic, this local beer store regularly wins awards, including “best beer bar in the United States.” Salud offers an expansive selection of local beer and wine, as well as wood-fired pizzas and incredible art inside and outside.
Article originally by Charlie Leonard. Updates by Arielle Patterson in August 2023.