The folks at Latin Flavor Cafe hope to spice up Tunnel Road. The new venture, which opened Saturday, occupies the old Shoney’s building about a mile south of where Tunnel Road meets the Blue Ridge Parkway, and features dishes inspired by the foods of Central and South America, Spain, Portugal and Cuba.
“Our goal was to educate the community on Latin foods, plural,” says Cindy Warlick, acting executive chef. The dinner menu includes arepas (Columbian corn fritters), paella and a burger with jalapeño relish and ancho-honey mayonnaise. They will serve lunch and Sunday brunch as a buffet, featuring foods that are “homestyle with a Latin flare,” Warlick says, such as macaroni and cheese and fried chicken.
Warlick says it’s still too early to tell how an independent venture will fare on Tunnel Road amid fast food restaurants and gas stations, but she is optimistic about the new project. “There’s nothing like what we’re going to do,” she says. “We need to liven this area up a little bit with some entertainment, some families, places for people to take their children.”
The restaurant plans to host events and family nights. They hope to obtain wine, beer and liquor licenses, although none of those have come in yet. Warlick expects them next week. Until then, she suggests diners quench their thirst with hibiscus punch.
Latin Flavor Café is open Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.