One of Dallas' most unique and likable restaurants is spreading its charm to the north. Latin Deli, which has been serving Latin-American specialties since 2011, will open a location at the quaint Addison Circle development in, yes, Addison.
Owner Fernando Barrera says he hopes to have it open by April, possibly sooner. He's going into a space that was previously occupied by a bakery, where he'll recreate the same menu of sandwiches, crepes, salads, baked goods, and coffee drinks.
Berrara is Mexican, but he champions all Latin-American cuisines.
"I do dishes from Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, but the key thing is that I add my own touch," he says.
Sometimes that means rejecting traditions such as pressing a Cuban sandwich, which you almost always see pressed flat. Not at Latin Deli.
"My Cuban sandwich, I do not press it," he says. "The way I do it is more like they do in Puerto Rico. People say, 'That's not a Cuban,' but it's my food, the way I do it."
His best seller is his marinated chicken sandwich, which features thick chunks of white-meat chicken with pork and thinly sliced red onion on good ciabatta bread.
His crepes — which he does in savory versions such as the vegetarian, as well as sweet, such as the one with strawberries and bananas — are also popular.
Attentive customer service is a big factor in Latin Deli's success. Yelpers speak highly of Barrera's accommodating personal touch.
He opened the first Latin Deli in 2011 at Abrams Road and Northwest Highway. In 2016, he branched out, opening a location in downtown Dallas in the beautiful old Katy Building on Commerce Street, across from the JFK Memorial and El Centro College.
He's learned a few hard lessons about downtown, including the fact that, despite a growing population of downtown residents, there is still not the critical mass necessary to keep the restaurant open at night.
"When we first opened, we'd stay open until 9 pm, but everyone leaves at 4 pm, and it's dead," he says. "We had to close at 5 pm."
But in Addison, he'll keep longer hours to serve the population of residents who live right in the circle. The Addison Circle.
Barrera does not have investors, it's all on him, so he makes his moves slowly and carefully.
"I've had my eye on this space for a while, since it was a bakery," he says. "After it closed, the landlord wanted a coffee shop, but it didn't last. Once they tried my food, they had a change of heart. I told them, 'I don't have a big beautiful place, but I serve my food with a lot of passion.'"