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Just the sign “Mi Barrio Halal Latin Grill” promises a mix-up adventure. “Mi Barrio” means “my neighborhood” in Spanish. But “Latin Grill” is in English. And “Halal” – that’s the Arabic word for meat prepared according to Muslim rules of purity.

Mike Nguyen and Michelle Tu came from San Jose to start Crackin’ Crawfish near UNC Charlotte.

On a cold and rainy Saturday in December, every table is full at Tacos El Nevado on Central Avenue, and more people are streaming in. “Se Vende Champurrado” – champurrado for sale – says the small sign taped to the door.

Tom Hanchett
Tom Hanchett is staff historian at Levine Museum of the New South.