Originally from Mexico City, Fernando Barrera traveled to many countries as a young man — England, France, and all over the United States. Everywhere he went he saw delis, but there was one deli he always was on the look-out for and never found: a Latin deli. If he ever opened his own restaurant, he decided, it’d be a Latin deli. “I wanted to do it, but I wanted to do it on a nice scale,” he says. “I mean, not fancy tables and fancy chairs, but I knew that I can provide good, quality food.” Over the years, Barrera worked in the kitchens of several restaurants until he eventually began working in restaurant management. “In those places, I learned a little bit of everything,” he says. At the same time, he also studied graphic design at El Centro. Finally, two years ago, he opened Latin Deli in the shopping center in the southeast corner of Abrams and Northwest Highway, and all his talents came together. The light, fun atmosphere greets guests at the door, quickly followed by the smell of fresh greens and baked goods. Because of Barrera’s knack for aesthetics, he puts extra focus on the presentation of each meal. “But the main concern is the taste,” he says. “We make everything right here when it’s ordered. Nothing is premade in the back, and we buy as much as we can from local markets.” The menu features a range of Latin-inspired dishes, such as the Cubano sandwhich, the classic Mexican torta, the pineapple pork sandwich, and the ever-popular chicken sandwich. “It’s like a fusion of culture,” he says. “I used the chicken from Mexico, I used the pork from Peru, and I used a special sauce from Venezuela. All of the menu is a fusion.”
Ambiance: Deli, bakery
Price range: $2.99-$7.99
Hours: Mon-Fri: 9 a.m.—9 p.m.
Sat: 8 a.m.—9 p.m.
Sun: 11 a.m.—6 p.m.
3 More delicious delis
1 Izmir Market & Deli
You haven’t lived until you’ve tried the hummus and pita bread at Izmir. Plus, there’s plenty of other great menu items, from gyros to hot or cold sandwiches.
2 Havana Cafe
Across the lake in Casa Linda Plaza, this little best-kept-secret serves up authentic Cuban food that even Cubans approve of. Plus is has that simple, hole-in-the-wall feel everybody loves.
3 Gandolfo’s New York Deli
Catch it if you can. Gandolfo’s is a food truck that sometimes makes guest appearances in our neighborhood, namely at the Truck Park on Lower Greenville. They offer New York style hot dogs and sausages worth hashtagging #delicious.
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