Little Chango, Hispanic Artisanal Kitchen, Opens in Asheville NC


When people say “eat like a bird” they usually mean eat very little. Apparently, they haven’t encountered a change.

“Changos are grackles, and that’s what we call grackles in some Latin American countries,” said Iris Rodriguez, chef and co-owner of Little Chango. “These birds are very gregarious; their appetites are very voracious and we really identify with them as they strive to be gregarious and search for food everywhere.

Little Chango, a Hispanic artisan cuisine, offers casual dining at a competitive price. And it is recommended that diners come hungry and with a hearty appetite for a changeo.

The dishes are a fusion of the owners’ heritage and inspired by other flavors and styles of Latin American cuisine.

“We wanted to open this style of restaurant because we felt as locals that when we wanted to have lunch there weren’t a lot of options for lunch that weren’t burgers, pizzas and tacos. “said Rodriguez. “We were craving that kind of food and we were trying to target locals and workers. It’s kind of like street food and quick and affordable with diverse cuisine.

Highlights of the menu

Little Chango is a new Hispanic restaurant on Merrimon Avenue.

• The arepas, star of the menu, is a dish made from corn cakes. He’s originally from Venezuela and Colombia, but Rodriguez incorporates his heritage by adding flavors from Puerto Rico and Cuba.

• Ropa vieja is made Cuban style with a grated flank steak and a side of mashed sofrito black beans, sweet plantains and queso fresco. It costs $ 11.

• Pernil is a Puerto Rican-style pork shoulder, seasoned with adobo, topped with pickled cabbage and onions, chili de arbol sauce and a “fancy rose sauce”. It costs $ 10.

• A vegetarian option is jibara arepa topped with sofrito black bean puree, sweet plantains, red onions, queso fresco, avocado and pepita sauce. It costs $ 8.

• Diners can request the “loncheras” – or lunch boxes – which contain rice and mamposteao beans, salad and pickled cabbage and onions with a choice of meat, or opt for a vegetarian. Prices ranged from $ 13 to $ 15.

“They’re meant to be more filling to go with you throughout the day, like a workman’s lunch,” Rodriguez said. “It’s like a little taste of our menu.”

Ropa vieja arepa is a tasty dish that takes a lot of effort because it takes time to cook and has many layers, she said. It was the bestseller with the pernil arepa and the loncheras not far behind.

Little Chango's Ropa Vieja Arena.

“A lot of people said it was really good and they haven’t had ropa vieja this good in a while. I’ll take it as a compliment, ”Rodriguez said. “I had a client who came over and said he grew up eating ropa vieja and it’s one of the best he’s ever had.”

The menu also offers side dishes, including yuca fries (cassava root fries) and tostones (fried green plantains) and a flan for dessert.

Different skills come together

Little Chango is a family business owned by Rodriguez, her husband Jose Busto and her business partner Luis Betances. Each offers a different set of skills that balances the business, she said.

Rodriguez brings skills acquired in banking over a decade, training at a cooking school and experience working in local restaurants, including Cúrate. Busto is a local brewer and manages the restaurant’s beverage program. Betances has been working in restaurant management for over 10 years.

“We didn’t want to do it alone because it’s a lot of work, so we thought what better way to do it than together? Said Rodriguez.

Little Chango's arepas chorizo, ropa vieja and jibara.

The restaurateurs have chosen to start small and in a welcoming and familiar neighborhood, the Versant Sud.

“We’ve been in Asheville for six years and we’ve always looked at this place,” she said. “We wanted to be on the southern slope because that’s where we feel comfortable, that’s where we’ve been working before. We know everyone in the neighborhood. We wanted that sense of community.

The building, a former sandwich shop, is spacious enough for six stools at a bar counter. A patio provides outdoor picnic table seating. The intimacy encourages diners to relax and engage in conversation over good food and beers.

“We want to make it a community space. We want people to come to Asheville and think of Little Chango. We want to be a staple, ”Rodriguez said.

Little Chango's chorizo ​​arepa.

“It’s something very different from what’s available in Asheville. I think people will appreciate it. It’s affordable for the amount of food, it’s a different flavor. It’s Latin American food, but not the Latin American food we have in town, ”she said.

Currently, take out orders are being fulfilled. Online ordering will be available soon.

Little Chango

Or: 134 Coxe Avenue, Asheville.

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday; 11.30am-9pm Friday and Saturday. Closed on Mondays.

Info: For more information visit Follow on Instagram at @littlechangoavl.

Tiana Kennell is the food reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA Today Network. Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter / Instagram @PrincessOfPage.

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