Suárez Bakery, the beloved Park Road Shopping Center bakery, will open its new food stall inside Optimist Hall on Friday, June 19.
Suárez has been a Charlotte favorite since it opened in 1992 with cakes, cookies, doughnuts, and other fresh pastries. Now the bakery is opening its second location, Suárez Bakery & Barra, inside the massive Optimist Park food hall next to Felix Empanadas and Bao and Bun.
The 1,007-square-foot stall will have an expanded menu that goes beyond sweets and focuses on Cuban-inspired sandwiches, rice bowls, and baked goods. Much of the menu centers on owner Carlos Suárez’s acclaimed bread that’s traditional to his Cuban heritage. Carlos Suárez Jr. is taking the reins at this location, while his brother Jesse and cousin Gonzalo man the kitchen.
“I’ve been wanting to open this for a long time,” Carlos Sr. says. “We’re ready to go.”
Pressed sandwiches: All sandwiches are made with Suárez’s bread, which is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. “We’ve been baking breads at our Park Road bakery since we opened there in 1992, and we’ve built our new menu around them at our second location,” says Carlos Sr.
- Cubano sandwich ($10) – marinated pork, swiss cheese, dill pickles, and a “mojo” mustard.
- Elena Ruz ($10) – “midnight” sweet bread, turkey, guava jelly, and whipped cream cheese. Carlos Jr. calls this sandwich the “sleeper pick.”
- Portabella ($10) – made with bolillo bread (uses shortening so it’s vegan), mojo portabella, crispy eggplant, avocado, romesco, and spinach.
Bowls: Rice bowls come topped with meats, vegetables, and an optional fried egg or avocado. Each bowl is served with black beans, jasmine rice, maduros, and pickled onions. Vegan options are available here, too.
- Mojo pork bowl ($10) – topped with marinated pork shoulder.
- Ropa vieja ($10) – braised chuck roast, red peppers, and green olives.
Snacks: If you don’t want a full meal, Suárez also has snacks like yucca fries, croquetas, and maduros — all $4.
Pastries: You’ll find the baked goods you know and love (doughnuts, cake, and cookies) at Suárez’s new location with additions of croissants, morning buns, salted caramel brownies, and more. Pastries range in price from $1.50 to $6. If you buy six, you get to take your pastries home in a cute chrome box.
Cuban coffee: Basal Coffee’s Bryce Laguer is behind the beverage menu, which continues the Cuban-inspired theme. Expect bold café cubano ($3), café con leche ($3.75), and more. There’s also beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages like Mexican Coke.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily to start.
Let’s take a closer look inside:
For more on Optimist Hall: The Agenda guide on Optimist Hall has all the details on what’s open now and what restaurants are opening next.