What's In Store

Charlotte light rail stop will soon get its first restaurant: A popular Latin grill

Sabor Latin Street Grill will open this fall at the Lynx station on JW Clay Boulevard, near UNC-Charlotte. The popular restaurant chain, which was started in 2013 in Elizabeth, has been growing rapidly recently.
Sabor Latin Street Grill will open this fall at the Lynx station on JW Clay Boulevard, near UNC-Charlotte. The popular restaurant chain, which was started in 2013 in Elizabeth, has been growing rapidly recently.

Sabor Latin Street Grill will soon operate a restaurant at a light rail station, making it the first dining option in a Lynx station in Charlotte.

The new 1,900-square-foot restaurant will open this fall at the station on JW Clay Boulevard, near UNC Charlotte, Sabor said in a statement Wednesday. It will have seating for 44 customers, who can access the restaurant via train or car since parking will be validated.

Sabor’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.

Sabor, which was started in 2013 in a former Phat Burrito spot in Elizabeth, has been growing rapidly in recent years. The UNCC light rail location will be the chain’s 13th restaurant.

The restaurant has locations across the Charlotte metro area, from its recently opened uptown location on College Street to Pineville to NoDa. In March, the company announced plans to franchise and expand outside the Charlotte area. Its first location as part of the expansion will open soon in Columbia.

Dalton Espaillat, CEO of Sabor ownership group Raydal Hospitality, told the Observer his company is “looking closely” at a location in Mooresville. After that, he’d like to expand into Ballantyne, Belmont and Concord.

Planning for the new UNCC location has been underway for over a year, Espaillat said. He is still in the permitting phase and hopes to open the store in October or November.

“I always wanted to have a store there,” Espaillat said of University City. “The issue was, every shopping center there already had a taco joint. It was difficult for me to find a location.

“As of right now every time I ask somebody if they know about Sabor (and they don’t) it’s because they live in University area. Hopefully this location will solve that problem.”

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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.
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