Charlotte’s First Cevicheria: Calle Sol

Calle Sol
Photo credit: Jamey Price

Calle Sol is Charlotte’s first cevicheria is a bright beacon on the corner of Commonwealth and Thomas Ave. Turquoise walls and yellow outdoor bar stools blaze in the heart of Plaza Midwood, where Charlotte’s old staple the Penguin Drive-In formerly stood. Calle Sol Charlotte NC has big shoes to fill. But it has the personality and culinary chops to become a staple in its own right.

From FS Food Group (the Frank Scibelli-led group behind Yafo, Mama Ricotta’s, Midwood Smokehouse, and Paco’s Tacos and Tequila) Calle Sol drastically diversifies the Latin food scene in Charlotte by serving traditional Cuban and Peruvian dishes with flair from Miami’s hottest Latin neighborhoods’ favorites.

It’s a Vibe

Inside, the walls are colorful and the music is dance-worthy. An open kitchen, airy booth-style seating, and colorful art and photographs contribute to a casual and lively atmosphere. Here, old friends can meet and new friends can be made.

calle sol
Photo credit: Jamey Price

Chef Paul Cruz, whose grandmother taught him how tasty Salvadoran food can be, heads the kitchen. He has found an opportunity to introduce some of those flavors into Calle Sol’s dishes while still honoring the flavors of Cuba and Peru. He works alongside Sous Chef Alfredo Galarza. Galarza attended university in Lima and brings his intimate knowledge of Peruvian cuisine to the Calle Sol kitchen.

Together, Cruz, Galarza, and the FS Food Group team worked with Cuban celebrity chef consultant Ana Quincoces to design a menu that would satisfy the gastronomic homesickness of even the pickiest Latin American. In addition to using plantains, mamey, and other tropical fruits and vegetables imported especially for the kitchen, Calle Sol has partnered with Barbee Farms to grow aji amarillo. Aji amarillo is a yellow pepper that grows in abundance throughout Peru. Consequently, it stars in many Peruvian dishes (careful, this pepper has some kick!).

calle sol
Photo credit: Jamey Price

Mouthwatering Menu

The menu features mouthwatering entrees. Take, for example, the shrimp mojo (Argentinian red shrimp sauteéd with dry white wine, diced tomatoes, cilantro, mojo, and butter and served over white rice), Cubano sandwiches, delicate ceviches (including an aji amarillo edition), and classic Peruvian sides like sweet plantains and boiled yuca. Additionally, a portion of the menu is dedicated to Chino-Latino dishes. In the mid-nineteenth century, Chinese and Japanese immigrants flocked to Latin America as part of the international labor migration, filling a demand for labor left in the wake of slavery’s abolition. These immigrants shaped many Latin nations’ economies and culture, including culinary traditions. Calle Sol nods to this cultural fusion with dishes like chaufa and Cuban fried rice.

Drinks at Calle Sol are playful and rum-heavy. The cocktail menu balances craft touches and classic recipes. Sangria, beer, and wine provide boozy alternatives to mixed drinks, while Cuban and Peruvian sodas allow for alcohol-free options.

Stop in Plaza’s vibrant new hotspot for dinner any day of the week or for lunch Friday through Sunday.

For more on Calle Sol Charlotte NC visit their website at callesolcafe.com