Latin café and cevicheria Calle Sol now open in Plaza

Latin café and cevicheria Calle Sol now open in Plaza

Ceviche at Calle Sol. Photo: Emma Way/Axios

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Restaurateur Frank Scibelli will open a new Latin café and cevicheria called Calle Sol on Tuesday, July 6 on Thomas Avenue in the former NC Red space.

What to expect: Calle Sol will have a casual café vibe inspired by Latin restaurants in cities like Miami and Tampa, says Scibelli of FS Food Group (Mama Ricotta’s, Paco’s, Midwood Smokehouse, Yafo). You’ll see Cuban and Peruvian flavors in dishes such as ceviche and arroz con pollo.

  • Chef Paul Cruz (formerly of Mama Ricotta’s) will serve as executive chef at Calle Sol, pulling in El Salvadorian flavors he learned from his grandmother.
  • The team also worked with consulting chefs including Ana Quincoces, Cuban celebrity chef formerly of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Miami.”

By day, Calle Sol will serve from a to-go window and offer affordable lunch specials cafeteria-style. By night, the restaurant has a “sexier” menu, Scibelli says, including a robust rum program.

The “Stiltsville Special” ($12) — Rum Punch honoring the Prohibition rum village on stilts in Biscayne Bay.

Menu: The restaurant channels Cuban American communities of the ’60s and ’70s, much like the dishes at sister restaurant Little Mama’s represent Italian-American dishes from decades past.

  • There’s also a Chinese influence on the menu seen in dishes like the chaufa, a fried rice dish popular in Peru. Through the 19th century, Chinese workers immigrated to Latin American countries like Cuba and Peru, and their influence in the food remains today.

Chaufa fried rice.

More highlights include:

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  • Ceviche ($14-$20) – Five varieties, which come with shrimp, delicate white fish, or both.
  • Chaufa ($12-$13) – A fried rice dish with Chinese and Peruvian influences.
  • Cubano – Two styles of the famous Cuban-American sandwich: one Tampa-style ($12), one Miami-style ($11).
  • Shrimp mojo ($17) – gulf shrimp sauteéd with dry white wine, diced tomatoes, cilantro, mojo and butter.

Find the full menu here.

Tampa-style cubano.

Flashback: The Plaza Midwood building has seen a lot of change since The Penguin Drive-In closed in 2015 — from an old-school diner to an upscale Mexican restaurant named Comida to the New England-meets-Southern NC Red.

  • Now the restaurant has changed hands between two of Charlotte’s most experienced restaurateurs, from Bruce Moffett (Good Food, Barrington’s, Stagioni) to Scibelli.

    Scibelli is known for creating gathering places, including Mama Ricotta’s, which will celebrate 30 years next year.

    He tells me he’s not concerned about opening Calle Sol in a location that’s seen turnover. “Five restaurants failed in the (Mama Ricotta’s space) before I went there,” he tells me. Calle Sol, he believes, “really fits this neighborhood.”

    Timeline: Calle Sol will open on July 6, 2021 at 5pm.

    Hours: Calle Sol will have with dinner for the first month, then add lunch after that. To start, its hours will be 4-10pm on Sunday through Thursday and 4-11pm on Friday and Saturday.

    Location: 1205 Thomas Ave. in Plaza Midwood.

    Here’s a closer look around:

    1205 salad ($8-$12), served with shredded iceberg lettuce, ham, swiss, green olives, grape tomatoes and romano cheese.

    In front is the cucumber-jalapeño “mo-heat-o.”

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    The Calle Sol mural outside (and inside) was done by local artist Randall Kane.

     

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    "It's good. I promise." - Emma   Emma Way