When is lunch more than lunch? At Salvadoreña restaurant in east Charlotte, it’s a one-stop opportunity to discover favorite dishes from El Salvador, Mexico and Honduras.
Teachers at nearby Devonshire Elementary did just that recently during a CMS teacher workday. Their student body is 54 percent Latino, largely from Mexico and Central America. Getting to know Latin American cultures is a priority for Devonshire staff, says principal Mary Sturge.
Estefani Segovia, whose family opened Salvadoreña in 2009, helped organizing teacher Amy Trakas pick menu options. “Everyone thinks Hispanic food is just tacos and burritos,” Segovia said, chuckling, but actually tacos are rare outside Mexico. So Segovia and Trakas selected three dishes that symbolize three distinct national cultures:
▪ From Segovia’s native El Salvador: pupusas. Plates came with three corn pancakes, one stuffed with beans and cheese, one with chopped pork, and one with green flower-buds called loroco. “Tastes like zucchini,” noted Trakas, approvingly.
▪ From Mexico: a sub sandwich called a torta, filled with grilled chicken, plus American French fries on the side. “For the hungry eater,” said Trakas.
▪ From Honduras: a baleada – a sort of quesadilla, but filled with beans. Charlotte now has many immigrants from tiny Honduras, so Latino restaurants are adding baleadas to the menu.
As teachers tasted and talked, Latin American Coalition director José Hernández-Paris told of his own experience as one of Charlotte’s first Spanish-speaking students in the 1970s. Argentinian-born Sil Ganzo, whose OurBRIDGE for KIDS afterschool program welcomes immigrants from around the globe, chatted informally at each table.
Principal Sturge said that she and other Devonshire teachers would be back: “The more we talk, the better we understand. Where do we talk? Around the table.”
Hours: 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. Closed Tuesday.
Address: 5724-G E. W.T. Harris Blvd. (at Sharon Amity Road).