Aug 18, 2023 - Food and Drink

Cali Colombian Restaurant is now open on South Boulevard

Cali Colombian

Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Cali Colombian Restaurant quietly opened this week on South Boulevard, offering authentic Colombian breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The Colombian restaurant is the latest addition to a street lined with several restaurants featuring fare from Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Why it matters: Mecklenburg County has the largest number of Hispanic residents in the state, per U.S. Census data. And Hispanics are one of the fastest-growing demographic groups in the country. 

“We want you to feel like you’ve been transported to Colombia or Latin America when you walk in the door and try our food,” Cali manager Andrea Castellanos tells Axios. 

Cali Colombian
All of the wait staff is from Colombia, according to Castellanos. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

What to expect: The 578-square-foot restaurant seats about 50 people. Their parking lot fits about 25 cars.

  • Prices range from $15-$25 for a main plate but you can get a filling meal for less than $10 if you pick and choose different small plates on the menu, like the empanadas and breads.

The menu: You’ll find traditional Colombian dishes like arepas, empanadas and the bandeja paisa, which has beans, rice, an arepa, chorizo, sweet plantains, chicharrón (pork rinds), avocado and beef.

  • The restaurant also has an in-house bakery, with fresh bread and desserts baked daily.
  • To drink, try one of their fruit juices — passion fruit, pineapple, mango, mora (blackberry), guanabana and lulo. All are made in-house and available with water or milk. “Colombians prefer to drink them with milk,” Castellanos says. 
  • They also serve Colombian coffee.
Cali Colombian
I tried the “limonada de coco,” a lemony and coconut drink. Also pictured here are the arepas and bandeja paisa. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

The vibe: Expect Hispanic music when you walk through the door of the bright restaurant. The restaurant offers dine-in service, or you can order to-go at the counter.

  • “You go to Colombia and you feel very welcomed and people are very warm. That’s what people can expect here,” says Castellanos, who is from Bogota, Colombia. 

Details: Cali is located at 5920 South Blvd.

  • It’s open 8am-11pm daily. “We want to give people who get out of work late options so they don’t have to go get fast food late at night,” Castellanos says.

What we’re watching: Colombian food is trending in Charlotte. We recently reported about a new Colombian restaurant called Muraya opening soon in the former Hot Taco spot in South End.

Cali Colombian
The side of the building features a mural by local artist artist Valentin Ramirez. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Editor’s note: The interview with Andrea Castellanos was done in Spanish and has been translated and edited for brevity. 

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