Oct 15, 2023 - Food and Drink

Chef Bruno Macchiavello of Yunta and Viva Chicken wants to bring more Peruvian cuisine to Charlotte

Bruno Macchiavello

Bruno Macchiavello says his go-to dish at Viva Chicken is the pollo a la brasa with all three sauces. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Bruno Macchiavello is the chef and co-owner of two of Charlotte’s most popular Peruvian restaurants — Viva Chicken, a fast-casual rotisserie chicken chain, and Yunta Nikkei, a Peruvian-Japanese fusion spot in South End.

“My mission for the next 10 years is to show Charlotte everything that Peruvian food has to offer,” he tells me. “Not just pollo a la brasa (rotisserie chicken) or ceviche.”

Why it matters: Macchiavello, originally from Lima, Peru, is among the growing number of Latinos shaping Charlotte’s culinary scene. He aims to further expand the city’s booming restaurant industry.

[Related story: 10+ Hispanic people making history in Charlotte today]

Zoom in: The original Viva Chicken location in Elizabeth celebrated its tenth anniversary this year. Over time, the chain has expanded to 16 more locations across the South.

“I was raised in an environment between fine dining and street food,” Bruno said, adding that he came from a family of entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry.

Between the lines: Macchiavello loves Charlotte. And I mean loves. The only things he loves more than Charlotte are his job and the ocean (an avid surfer, he says it’s the only thing Charlotte is missing).

  • “When I first moved to Charlotte [in 1989] I had a bit of culture shock because I came from a big city,” he said. “But I could see its future [potential]. You could tell it was going to grow.” Now, he says he’ll stay here forever.
  • Macchiavello, whose first job in Charlotte was at the original Showmars, says he wants to continue to be part of that growth, whether it’s by investing his time in helping other entrepreneurs or opening more restaurants, which he has plenty of ideas for.

What’s next: Following the success of Yunta, Macchiavello would like to eventually open another Peruvian fusion restaurant in Charlotte — “we have Peruvian-Chinese food called ‘chifa’ and it’s the best food in the world,” he said.

Peruvian-Chinese food is a mix of explosive flavors from both countries, according to Macchiavello. Some examples are arroz chaufa (Peruvian fried rice), el tallarin saltado (Pervian stir-fried noodles) and caldo wantan (wonton soup).

  • Then, there’s Peruvian street food, like the “butifarra,” a Peruvian sandwich, according to Macchiavello. It’s made with ham, lettuce and creole sauce on French bread.

Go deeper: 26+ Hispanic- and Latino-owned restaurants to visit for Hispanic Heritage Month

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

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