Spend 24 Hours Supporting Hispanic-Owned Businesses
Whether it’s a small art store full of homemade items or a cult-classic restaurant with a massive following, Hispanic-owned businesses help make Charlotte a leading city in the New South. If you’re new in town, or you’ve lived here all your life, here’s how you can spend 24 hours supporting businesses owned by Latino and Hispanic community members.
by Charlie Leonard
If you’ve never had a Colombian breakfast, that’s about to change. At Mi Tierra, both owners are originally from Pereira, a mountainous city in Colombia known for its vast coffee-growing region, so you can rest assured the dishes are authentic. Opt for the Desayuno Mi Tierra or the Huevos Pericos y Arepa con Queso 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 (aka 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 a pre-lunch treat at The Batch House 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 Batch House is one of Charlotte’s most popular places for a sweet treat. Grab one of their famous oatmeal cream pies and sit for a bit inside their chic dining room. Pro tip: 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 make themselves known through the rich collection of art, crafts, jewelry and other wares in Hernandez’s store. That 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 Calle Sol in Plaza Midwood for some of Charlotte’s best ceviche. 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 the Pineapple Express, or opt for Juan’s Pisco — their take on the 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 at Los Paisas or a rotisserie chicken at Hello Chicken.
Head over to 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 their selection of boots, shirts, jackets and accessories for men and women.
When the shopping’s done, dinner time is just around the corner. For something quick and delicious in one of Charlotte’s rising areas, head over to La Caseta in Camp North End. Owner Dalton Espaillat — who also owns Sabor Latin Street Grill — built a vast menu of “Mother Made Latin Food” for your culinary delight. Pick one of their pupusas — a griddle cake dish from Honduras and El Salvador — filled with your choice of meat and a Mexican Coke to drink.
Ready for Cuban food round two? El Puro Cuban Restaurant in Lower South End has quickly 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 their take on the pina colada — and strong, Cuban-style coffee. The decor and ambiance stays 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 in the AvidXchange Music Factory offers a unique dining experience. Not only are you eating some of Chef El Ninja’s freshest “sushi aplantanado,” — aka, sushi that’s been adapted to fit into the Dominican culture — you’re also sipping exotic cocktails and listening to live DJs from their vibrant lounge in a hub of music and entertainment. It’s a great change of pace from a traditional sushi restaurant experience.
Another exceptional fusion concept is Yunta Nikkei 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 their ceviches, tiraditos — Peruvian sashimi — or one of their unique wok dishes.
No matter what you choose, head over to Salud Cerveceria in NoDa for the perfect nightcap. Owned by Jason and Dairelyn Glint — the latter a native of the Dominican Republic — this local beer store regularly wins awards for “best beer bar in the United States.” Salud offers an expansive selection of local beer and wine, a wood-fired food menu and incredible art inside and outside.