A new concept coming to Deep Ellum promises to bring something the neighborhood definitely does not have: salsa dancing. Called Cafe Salsera, it'll be a Latin-Caribbean restaurant with salsa lounge and coffeehouse components.
Cafe Salsera will be located at 2610 Elm St., next to the 7-Eleven. Neighborhood old-timers might recognize that as the old Video Bar space; it has been home to many a forgettable dance club since. Opening is plotted for late spring.
The owner is Wilson Chan, an entrepreneur with a passion for salsa dancing, says spokeswoman Alejandra Iraheta. "It's an ambitious project with a lot of facets, but this is something he's always dreamed of," she says.
It'll be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The coffee bar will include a walk-up window where customers can get coffee to-go.
Menu items include albondigas, aka Spanish meatballs, in a spicy tomato sauce, with fried yucca in "mojo de ajo" garlic sauce, served with jicama salad. There's the Salsera trio, with roasted chicken, pork and jerk shrimp, served with salad, rice, beans and fried plantains. The Puerto Rican-inspired "mofungo" dumplings are made with mashed plantains and topped with shrimp mojo. There also will be a well-stocked pastry case.
Construction began in late November on a space that was fairly trashed. Chan is working with restaurant designer "Build it With Bruce" Russo, whose recent work includes Stock & Barrel in Bishop Arts. His segment on Cafe Salsera will appear on WFAA's Live Love Laugh Today show, on February 8 at 11 am.
Their design is intended to create the illusion of a courtyard in the Caribbean. The space will feature an indoor dining room, outdoor patio and second-floor balcony. A 28-foot stage will be used as an elevated dining area or as a platform for dancers and bands on select nights, ranging from salsa, bachata, Argentine tango and merengue.
Part of the charm will be its dual personality. "We'll have the coffee and cafe during the day," Iraheta says. "And then on nights and weekends, we'll turn into a dance lounge for salsa fanatics."