What's In Store

Popular Latin grill is the latest Charlotte chain to franchise and expand outside NC

Get a taste of Latin America at the newest restaurant in Fort Mill

Sabor Latin Street Grill opened last month at Crossroads Plaza, in the former Burger Craft location in Fort Mill, South Carolina near Tega Cay.
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Sabor Latin Street Grill opened last month at Crossroads Plaza, in the former Burger Craft location in Fort Mill, South Carolina near Tega Cay.

Sabor Latin Street Grill is the latest Charlotte-born restaurant chain to franchise and expand outside the metro area.

Raydal Hospitality, which owns Sabor, has entered into its first multi-unit franchise agreement for expansion of the restaurant chain, according to a statement Wednesday. Raydal and franchisee Bold and Fresh Hospitality LLC plan to open several locations across South Carolina.

The first, at 701 Gervais St. in Columbia, is expected to open this summer, according to Raydal.

Raydal’s CEO Dalton Espaillat said the franchise group intends to open 10 locations over the next three years. Locations in Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson and Clemson are all being considered. Each location will lease about 2,500 square feet, according to Raydal.

“We’re running out of room in the Charlotte metro,” Espaillat told the Observer. “Depending on the success (in South Carolina), we’ll branch out farther than that.”

Espaillat said he would consider southern expansion into Georgia and Florida, and northern expansion up to Raleigh and Virginia.

Sabor was started in 2013 in a former Phat Burrito spot in Elizabeth.

It operates 12 locations across the metro area, from its recently opened uptown location on College Street to NoDa to Pineville. Sabor’s developed a loyal following over the years, especially with its popular $1 Taco Tuesday specials.

The restaurant’s menu includes influences from El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico and Colombia. The restaurant specializes in house-made empanadas, gorditas, arepas, salsas, nachos and tacos.

Espaillat said Sabor’s low price point and fresh ingredients make the concept scalable.

“The demographics are good, and it makes sense for the brand to grow close to home,” Espaillat said of Sabor’s expansion into South Carolina.

Sabor joins a growing list of fast-casual restaurants that were started in the Charlotte region but have since franchised and expanded beyond the metro area.

Last year, the fast-casual Greek chain Showmars announced plans to open its first restaurant in Wake Forest, and is also eying locations in Kannapolis and Indian Trail. Famous Toastery, the breakfast chain that started in Huntersville in 2005, has been expanding rapidly in recent years, and has locations from Georgia to New York. Charlotte-based Bojangles’ operates nearly 760 chains across the Southeast.

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As the retail and sports business reporter for the Observer, Katie Peralta covers everything from grocery-store competition in Charlotte to tax breaks for pro sports teams. She is a Chicago native and graduate of the University of Notre Dame.