A North Carolina-based taco shop has expanded south of the border for the first time.
South of the state border, that is.
Sabor Latin Street Grill opened last month at Crossroads Plaza, in the former Burger Craft location near Tega Cay.
Owned by Raydal Hospitality, the new Sabor is the company’s first foray into South Carolina, but it hopes to expand further into the Palmetto State and beyond, said David Deal, the company’s vice president.
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“This is one of the best places in the nation to grow a business right now,” Deal said of the Charlotte metro area. “And we’re not someone from out of town. We live here.”
Sabor specializes in a variety of Latin American cuisine. There are, of course, tacos on the menu, with $1 Taco Tuesdays for the Autenticos, made with ground beef, shredded chicken or veggies and topped with cilantro and diced onion and served with a lime wedge.
But the menu also carries the flavors of the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia and more. Its founders take pride in the Latin “street food” offered at Sabor — food you might find a little off the beaten path, while strolling through a market in Latin America. That includes the elote loco or “crazy corn” — corn on the cob served on a stick, lightly coated with mayo, dusted with chili powder and topped with cotija cheese — and the Argentinean empanada, a delicious fried pastry pocket stuffed with meat and cheese.
Deal’s personal favorite is the arepa, a Venezuelan-style yellow corn cake (dough is made in-house) which is seared and then flash fried, filled with shredded chicken, diced tomato, onion and cheese and topped with rosada sauce, a sort of ketchup mayo. Sabor’s Heroic menu offers lighter fare, like the curtido fish taco with seared tilapia and the quinoa avocado bowl, with grilled vegetables and cilantro lime yogurt sauce.
A Latin grill’s menu wouldn’t be complete without quesadillas, nachos and burritos, which can be made with your choice of protein, including steak, grilled or shredded chicken, black beans, chorizo, shrimp or tofu and available with fresh-made pico de gallo, guacomole and sour cream. A variety of sides, sodas, wine and craft beer round out the menu.
Craft cocktails (liquor license pending) will include palomas, margaritas and mojitos.
Everything is made fresh in-house, from the 100 percent fresh-squeezed lime juice in the margaritas to the variety of mild to hot salsa, including the Green Monster (jalapeno) and charred habanero salsas. The tortillas are made at a factory in Winston-Salem.
“Nothing is shipped in a bag,” Deal said. “It’s very, very fresh.”
Sabor was founded in Charlotte four years ago by Dalton Espaillat. The Fort Mill restaurant is the company’s seventh location and the largest so far, doubling the seating of prior locations. It’s also the first to offer a full-service bar, and will soon be partnering with Uber Eats for delivery service.
The restaurant was busy on a recent Wednesday night (when kids eat for free). Kristy and Jody Pabst brought their boys, Gage, 11, and Wyatt, 8, to try out the new fare for the first time. Gage and Wyatt both appeared to be enjoying the elote loco.
“I thought it was great,” Kristy Pabst said. “It’s nice to have something different.”
Then, she added with a smile: “And they’re going to have mojitos. No one else has those around here.”
Sabor, which means “flavor,” is open seven days a week. For more, call 803-547-7755 or order online at saborcharlotte.com.