Trading sweet for spicy

Where succulent sweets once reigned, spices and salt will take over. Salsa’s Mexican Caribbean Restaurant, a downtown Latin food stronghold for the last 18 years, will take over the space formerly occupied by the Sisters McMullen Cupcake Corner, which closed on Aug. 12.

Hector Diaz, founder and owner of Salsa’s (also of Modesto and Chorizo, the Italian and Latin restaurants, respectively), will occupy the building beginning Sept. 1, and he plans to open a companion bar to Salsa’s on Oct. 1.

“There’s always a lot of people waiting at Salsa’s outside, so what we’re going to do with the corner is we’re going to make that a bar for Salsa’s, a beautiful bar that all has to do with the same things we’re doing now,” he says.

But his plans don’t stop there. He will continue to refine his concept at the corner until early next spring, when he says he will launch a unique — but for now secret — venture.

“It’s a pioneer concept to Asheville and the United States,” he explains. “No matter what we do there, it’s going to be a concept where you take and you go. It’s going to be a quick thing.”

A Salsa’s expansion has been rumored for some time because waiting patrons for the Patton Avenue restaurant often overflow onto the sidewalk. More than a year ago, Diaz purchased the property at 23 Broadway St., but said in a January 2011 Xpress story that the property was an “investment.” The commercial space at that address remains vacant.

Sisters McMullen bakery will consolidate its efforts at its 840 Merrimon Ave. location, according to a sign posted on the now-closed downtown spot.


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