Charlotte’s Central Avenue Corridor is a food mecca, unlike any other around the Queen City. All along Central Avenue, strip malls and non-descript buildings house some of the best eats around town. Even if you don’t consider yourself adventurous, we urge you to be brave and explore. We promise, you’ll be rewarded.
El Molino Deli & Bakery tucked inside the Sav/Way Foods | El Supermercado Latino.
One such spot on Central Ave is the El Molino Deli & Bakery. And, it’s our next stop on our tour of Charlotte’s best-kept sandwich secrets.
Bring Cash. Helps to Speak Spanish.
As you make your way through the grocery aisles, you’ll find a busy little deli and bakery tucked all the way in the back. They sling tortas and tacos and offer traditional Latinx baked treats like cakes, tres leches and custard pies. And, then … there’s the Chorizo Torta!
Their menu is entirely in Spanish and was overwhelming for me (and quickly reminded me that I really need to invest in taking up Spanish — something that has been on my bucket list!) But, I was undeterred. I was on a mission to check out the ultimate chorizo torta, after all.
I sheepishly walked up to the counter and placed my order.
PRO TIP: Hit the bank first. El Molino is “CASH ONLY.” Luckily, I managed to find two $5 bills in my wallet … enough to cover the behemoth sandwich.
Worth the Wait
There were several patrons ahead of me, clearly showing that I had made the right decision in stopping here for lunch. Patiently waiting, I browsed the mercado. Where else can you score all your produce needs, at least ten different kinds of dried peppers, prayer candles, a piñata, and a torta all in one place?
We didn’t have to wait long. Soon, I was face to face with their famous torta. It was HUGE. And this $10 sandwich is worth every penny.
Eating the Sandwich
Between the avocado and mayonnaise, this one a “slip-and-slide” kind of sandwich. The ample portions will want to escape as you bite into it, so we recommend keeping it wrapped in the foil and just peeling back as you eat.
(Full Disclosure: For the sake of Instagram and photos, we fully undressed ours and it was a challenge fitting in the big bite without making quite the mess. Make sure you ask for a few extra napkins!)
The Flavors at Play
This was my first experience with a torta … and it was seriously incredible.
The list of ingredients may be long (see our handy dandy graph), but each plays its part. My favorite bites were those with the fresh avocado, spicy jalapeño. and the thick-sliced grilled cheese. Oh, yes, this sandwich had TWO kinds of cheeses and one of them had been seared on the flat iron grill.
I could have ordered just a cheese torta and had been happy. But just when you think you’re satisfied, the chorizo enters and it takes you to another level of flavor town!
Beware of the red onion — it’s quite strong. With the current mask mandate, it’s one of those situations you don’t really want to be in for long, so make sure you have some gum handy or are able to brush your teeth right away because you do want that onion in your sammie. You just don’t want to still be inhaling it hours later!
Also, the hot sauce that came with the torta is HOT! So bear that in mind if spicy food is not your jam.
This sandwich is one for the record books and every Charlottean needs to enjoy. I can’t wait to go back (with more cash in hand) to try other tortas and tacos, too.
There was a torta named, ‘Filipina’, and we’re definitely intrigued.
El Molino Deli & Bakery
Inside the Sav/Way Foods in the Darby Acres Shopping Center
4459 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205 | 7:30AM-10:00PM [Check for hours during COVID]
What does the El Molino Deli torta have to say for itself?
The torta is voiced by Ohavia Phillips.
Photo Gallery by @CLT.Remedy
About the “I’m a Sandwich Series”
As the pandemic plods on, we find ourselves in desperate need of a new lineup of sandwiches to get us through each workday. We asked you for the best sammies in Charlotte and were crushed with a bountiful buffet of recommendations.
So, we created the “I’m A Sandwich” series to let Crown Town’s best sandwiches speak for themselves … literally. That’s right, we made videos of singing sandwiches.
Each will be accompanied by a review and photos from our friends Kriska Woods and Manny Carandang of @CLT.Remedy. And every “savage” sandwich we cover will be voiced by the “one-and-OHnly” Ohavia Phillips (in the role of Megan Thee Stallion).
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