Eastway Drive reopened recently after a 16-month LYNX bridge project. It’s a great time to explore international cafes and groceries along this diverse east Charlotte corridor.
Want to sample Liberian food? Visit Nubian Queens. How about some Guatemalan baked goods? Try Panaderia El Quetzel. Vietnamese eats? Go to Lang Van.
For Central American homestyle food, it’s Deli La Cabaña. Behind the counter you’ll usually find the co-owner, tiny Elba Villatoro. She and husband José bring recipes from her home village of Santa Rosa de Lima in El Salvador. “No formal training — what I learned as a little girl,” says Elba.
It’s grandma cooking: simple, hearty stews like your abuela would simmer all day long in a big pot at the back of the stove. Nothing’s spicy, all cafeteria style, so just point at what looks tasty.
Look for carne guisada: beef with big chunks of potato and carrot in a mild tomato broth. Or hilachas: shredded skirt steak cooked with tomatoes, tomatillos and onions. Don’t miss the pastelitos: little cornmeal empanadas stuffed with shredded chicken, potato and carrot.
“It’s the food we ate growing up in Guatemala — flavorful stewed meats and vegetables served alongside rice and thick hand-made corn tortillas,” says UNC Charlotte professor Eric Hoenes.
Thick tortillas are distinctively Central American. “You’re meant to break pieces off pieces for dipping in food, rather than rolling food in them like you do with Mexican style pressed tortillas.” Hoenes notes. “In Guatemala (and probably El Salvador) people will say that they haven’t really eaten unless they’ve had tortillas of this kind with a meal. In rural areas especially it’s common to eat six or more per sitting.”
A few folding tables and chairs line the small space but most folks are waiting for takeout — Central American men in work clothes, moms with kids.
Deli La Cabaña
Monday – Sunday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
925 Eastway Drive (across from Garringer High School)
Charlotte, NC 28205
(704) 566 – 0640
Center City & nearby
Carolina apple cider
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
Korean at China Wing
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
Colombian BBQ & snacks
Detroit hot dogs
New York bagels
Iran Kabobs in Matthews
Ramen in Matthews
Peruvian comfort food
Central Av, Albemarle Road & vicinity
Dominican street food
Jamaican black cake
Somali stew and sides
Schawarma from Jerusalem
Greek pastry at Central Coffee
‘Tis the Season for Champurrado
Latino bakery feeds a region
Taste Monterrey, Mexico
Tamales in Plaza Midwood
One restaurant, three Latino traditions
North Tryon, UNCC area & northward
Asian Moon Cakes
Beef on Weck from Buffalo
Dominican fruit shakes, pressed subs
Mexican ice cream
Louisiana Viet crawfish
Salvadoran comfort food
NYC pastries – Lake Norman
Vegetarian eats from south India
The Patio at Our Lady of Guadalupe
NC fish camps
Grits & cornmeal
Laos in Kings Mountain