Asheville, NC - The Latinx community is the fastest-growing demographic in the Asheville region, including more than 20 Latin American cultures represented. This Hispanic Heritage Month, and all year long, is an opportunity to recognize, honor, and celebrate the many contributions of the Latinx/Hispanic community.
Here are a few recommendations for new and notable ways to celebrate Hispanic heritage in Asheville this month and year-round:
Art & Culture
- El Mercadito, the newest gallery addition to The Refinery AVL, is a collection of drawings, sculptures and mixed-media artwork by Luis Alvaro Sahagun centered on Latinx narratives. As the grandson of a curandera, or healer, Sahagun calls his artmaking “a mystical instrument” that forges a spiritual connection to heal wounds of conquest, colonization and capitalism. Visitors can check out El Mercadito and The Refinery’s 20 artist studios every first Friday of the month. Upcoming first Fridays: Sept. 1, Oct. 6 and Nov. 3.
- A bright purple mural celebrating Latinx heritage debuted this summer across a wall along Coxe Ave., near downtown. The artwork, titled “Eres Un Orgullo Latino” (which means “You Are Latin Pride”), was designed and painted by Leslie Reynalte-Llanco as part of Buncombe County’s Creative Equity Mural Project.
- Every Friday and Saturday night, Ritmo Kultural transforms Citizen Vinyl into a Latin dance party. DJ Malinalli and DJ Manukaru spin cumbia, salsa, and reggaeton records, and the cafe kitchen serves up fresh tacos from 7-11pm.
- In West Asheville, DJ MTN VIBES presents Latin Night at One World Brewing every Wednesday. The evening kicks off at 8:30pm with an all-levels dance lesson, and open dance continues on until midnight.
- interdisciplinary artist and rapper Bocafloja will screen the documentary “Bravado Magenta,” followed by a performance and afterparty at Citizen Vinyl. Hosted by Ritmo Kultural, Sept. 30. Doors open at 7pm, program starts at 8pm.
- The Latin Business Council is putting on a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration in the River Arts District. The event at Black Wall Street features discussions, Latinx vendors, food and Zumba. Oct. 14, from 12-4pm.
- The Weaverville Community Center is hosting a Día de los Muertos fundraiser for Asheville sister city committees in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas and Valladolid, Yucatan. The event includes a procession along Lake Louise honoring the deceased, a photobooth, and a large ofrenda or altar. Ticket price includes a traditional Dia de los Muertos meal, think cochinita pibil and mole negro, and a glass of wine or beer. Oct. 19, 4-8pm.
Hispanic-Owned Restaurants & Latinx Cuisine
- Little Chango – Owner Iris Rodriguez runs this small eatery in South Slope that specializes in arepas honoring food traditions and flavors from across Latin America. The cardamom-infused tres leches cake is not-to-be-missed.
- Pupuseria Patty – Patty Saenz’ menu is a reflection of her heritage that straddles two countries – Nicaragua and El Salvador. Patty’s generously-sized pupusas are served with homeland curtido (fermented cabbage) and are made to order with a variety of fillings, like black beans, chicken, and loroco – an edible flower.
- Mamacita’s – This family-run taqueria in downtown Asheville is a local favorite, consistently voted best burrito in town. Their soft corn tortillas are made fresh daily, and their seasonal taco specials ensure no two visits are the same.
- Guajiro Cuban Comfort Food – A red food truck anchored in the River Arts District serving classic Cuban fare, like lechon asado and pastelitos. Guajiro is the childhood dream of owner and founder Christian Barroso, a second-generation Cuban American who grew up cooking authentic Cuban meals with his grandmother, Nana.
- Mikasa Criolla – Chef Santiago Vargas is passionate about sharing food traditions from his native Peru, to include Chinese and Japanese influences from a wave of migration in the 19th century. Mikasa pairs Peruvian classics, like aji gallina, and Santiago’s unique creations, like shrimp and grits empanadas. Located inside the S&W Market.
For more Latinx businesses, events and dining, check out this guide at exploreasheville.com.