By Tom Hanchett, August 2012
José Rodriguez’s bright white chef’s coat, proudly embroidered with his name, is the first clue that the deli inside the Galaxy Foods supermarket on Arrowood Road is something special. El Rinconcito – “the little corner” in Spanish – is a place to discover carefully prepared dishes from Honduras.
A steam-table features different selections each day, usually including a chicken stew and some tender-cooked pork. There are always black beans, rice and sweet fried plantains. Get an agua-fresca to drink: think orangeade but with mango and/or pineapple juice that Rodriguez squeezes from fresh fruit.
Pupusas are a specialty. The thick tortilla-like stuffed pancakes are the signature fast food in Honduras and neighboring El Salvador. Get them stuffed with beans or cheese. Or try the loroco, a green flower bud grown in Central America. Or the pork belly and cheese, rich and bacon-y.
Another specialty at El Rinconcito is Chicken Francese, an Italian dish. Why Italian?
Most immigrants to Charlotte arrive here after a stop or two elsewhere in the U.S. For Honduras-born Rodriguez, that meant the Morristown, New Jersey area. It’s now an epicenter for Honduran arrivals but a generation ago it was heavily Italian.
Rodriguez learned to make Chicken Francese when he apprenticed at an Italian eatery in Morris Plains. A tender chicken breast, lightly breaded and quick fried, is topped with a herbed lemon and white wine sauce.
Whether you’re Honduran, Italian or just a hungry Charlottean, it’s an unexpected treat at a supermarket deli.
Monday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Inside Galaxy Foods supermarket
201 West Arrowood Road (at Nations Ford Road)
Charlotte, NC 28217
Center City & nearby
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Indian street food
Greens from South Carolina
Upstate NY Italian sausage
Blackberry memories of Brooklyn
Puerto Rican kabobs
South Boulevard, South Tryon & southward
Mexico meets Greece – holiday treats
Cuban box pig
Snack foods from India
SC meets Vietnam @ Lyly’s
El Rinconcito — El Salvador
Arepas Grill — Venezuela
Indian sweets for Diwali
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Indian food in south Charlotte
Laurita Tamaleria — Mexican tamales
Fort Mill — real Chinese
Independence Boulevard, Monroe Road & environs
Taste Nigeria in east Charlotte
Secret Greek grocery
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Ramen in Matthews
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Somali stew and sides
Schawarma from Jerusalem
Greek pastry at Central Coffee
‘Tis the Season for Champurrado
Latino bakery feeds a region
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One restaurant, three Latino traditions
North Tryon, UNCC area & northward
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Beef on Weck from Buffalo
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The Patio at Our Lady of Guadalupe
NC fish camps
Grits & cornmeal
Laos in Kings Mountain