Awesome Latina and Latino Owned Businesses in Asheville, North Carolina
Wining & Dining

12 Awesome Latino and Latina-Owned Businesses in Asheville 

More than 40 million people living in the US today were born in a different country, and an estimated one million immigrants arrive in the US every year. People come from all walks of life and for diverse reasons. But one thing is for sure: ours is a nation of immigrants looking for new beginnings and working to make their dreams a reality. 

According to Pew Research, the US Hispanic population reached 62.5 million in 2021, up from 50.5 million in 2010. So, we are a powerful force, folks! Latino people bring so much to the fan of identities this country is made of.  

Excellent food, fun music and traditions, some of the best dance moves in the world, a culture of enjoying the present and living our best lives despite the circumstances, and a beautiful language.

I love President and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, Antonio Tijerino’s words: “You are not lucky to be here. The world needs your perspective. They are lucky to have you.” I’m sure your heart will be sinking too, and not precisely “despacito” if you imagine what the United States would be without its Latinos. 

Asheville’s Latinos are active members of the community. We work in the service industry, teach your kids Spanish, make stuff at local factories, cook all kinds of meals for your family, hold Zumba and salsa lessons, work at local nonprofits, volunteer, spend and donate money, raise bilingual kids, and own successful businesses.

There are special fun events during Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15), when the country celebrates the histories, cultures, and contributions of people from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Burton Street Community Center, for example, organizes a super fun festival in October that includes cooking classes, music, dance, and movies like the super popular Encanto.

The local nonprofit Hola Carolina produces one of the most fun Asheville festivals every June at Pack Square – think authentic Latin American food, live mariachi performances, traditional dances, and people dancing for hours to cumbia, salsa, and merengue while cooling down at the Splashville splash pad.

Have you been enamored of Spanish since your high school classes? Are you like me and are sure Spanish will eventually become the US’ second official language? Join the Spanish Conversation Group at Pack Memorial Library, then! This monthly event is hosted by the awesome Arturo from Ecuador and all levels are welcome. 

You can also follow the updates of the resourceful Facebook group Asheville Spanish Club created and maintained by the fabulous Helen H. There are plenty of weekly opportunities to practice your Spanish in Asheville!

Do you want to support the Asheville Latino community in other ways? Here are three local nonprofits that have had a tremendous positive impact on it:

  • Literacy Together‘s English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program serves 250 students annually. All of their tutors are volunteers, and they currently have a waiting list of 100 people (most of whom are from Latin America) who have been waiting for months for a tutor. They offer remote and in-person volunteer opportunities, work with volunteers from around the world, and want you to know that you don’t need to speak the student’s language to teach.
  • Hola Carolina‘s mission is “to build bridges between cultures, embrace diversity, and create more economically vibrant communities.” This immigrant-led organization operated by and for the Latino community was founded by Adriana Chavela (Mexico), who is also the current Executive Director. 
  • Unete is one of the oldest and most impactful local organizations working with the Latino community in Asheville. Although it only recently became a nonprofit, its founder and Executive Director Norma Brown is a local legend. Unete’s vision is “to equitably facilitate immediate and lasting transformation in lives across Western North Carolina (WNC).”

I’ve compiled a list of some of Asheville’s incredible Latino-owned businesses. There are plenty more! Please mention your favorite one in the comments. Thanks to all who support the Latino community in Asheville!

Don’t forget to check out our web story: 12 Awesome Latino and Latina-Owned Businesses in Asheville

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).

1. Eat Excellent French and Argentinean Food (Plus Great Tamales!) at Cecilia’s Kitchen

Latino Latina Owned Businesses in Asheville: Cecilias Kitchen

Cecilia’s Kitchen is an Asheville gem. The food is consistently excellent, but the owner, Cecilia, who was born and raised in Argentina, is a local legend. She owns two restaurants, La Guinguette in Black Mountain and Cecilia’s Kitchen in Asheville, and two food trucks found at local breweries, festivals, and at the North Asheville Tailgate Market every Saturday.

This Latina-owned Asheville business serves some of the best dishes from Argentina and France. The highlights are the gluten-free crepes, the tamales, and the Argentinean empanadas, but the menu is broad and has something for everyone. 

Some of the favorite dishes are La Forestière crepe (shiitake, button, and oyster mushrooms sautéed in garlic butter sauce on a bed of Swiss cheese and cream), the Carne de Vaca (beef) empanada, the Nacatamal (a giant Nicaraguan-style tamale filled with masa, chicken, potatoes, carrots, rice, and homemade mole wrapped in a banana leaf), and the French Onion Soup. 

Please don’t leave this restaurant without trying the heavenly-tasting sweet crepe La Buenos Aires, filled with dulce de leche! You’ll love Cecilia’s warmth, the homey ambiance, cute decor, indoor and outdoor seating areas, and the outstanding hospitality of the team she brought together. 

Finally, plan to visit Cecilia’s Kitchen on Saturdays and Sundays to enjoy one of the best off-the-tourist-track brunch spots in Asheville

Location: 870 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville

2. Do a Magical Photoshoot with this Amazing Photographer and Mama Born and Raised In Venezuela 

Daniela of Daniela Guerrero Photography is a mother of two beautiful kids and an excellent photographer. She specializes in family and wedding photos and is one of the best!

If you are looking for portraits of your family that show more than matching outfits and perfectly timed smiles, she’s the go-to photographer. The images she’ll capture will be authentic and raw and reveal the many ways in which your family is beautiful and unique. 

“I go for the candid, not conventional kind of deal. I find beauty in what makes each of us unique, and it’s an honor for me to embrace that by creating everlasting memories for you and your loved ones.”

You’ll love her whimsical maternity shots highlighting the goddess in you. Also, are you planning a wedding or an elopement in Asheville? Daniela specializes in capturing those special moments, offering various packages for every budget.

Follow this Latina-owned business on Instagram to appreciate Daniela’s images and get updates about her offerings!

3. Cool Down During the Summer Months with Neomi’s Super Yummy Buggy Pops

Latin Owned Buisnesses in Asheville: Buggy Pops
Images courtesy of Buggy Pops

Buggy Pops offers gourmet ice pops “handcrafted with love.” You’ll adore the flavors made with the freshest local ingredients. Each pop is made by hand and sold at festivals and markets. You can check the calendar to see where to find them.

Neomi has Puerto Rican and Cuban roots and grew up and lived in New Jersey and Florida before she came to Asheville. I met Neomi during the pandemic at a Spanish conversation group I used to hold on Zoom, and she amazed us with her sensitivity, uniqueness, and outrageous sense of humor! 

I know she’s not a fan of winter, but she worships warmer weather and its various treats and is becoming a local goddess of summertime and the easy livin’. This Latina-owned Asheville business started with a trike and Neomi’s signature Coconut Cinnamon pops and developed into a celebrated gourmet ice pop business. 

The flavors vary, and Neomi is constantly experimenting with new creations. I love the Coconut Cinnamon, Blueberry Mango, and Mango Pineapple pops. And the Banana Pudding with Nilla Wafers pops represent the royalty of Southern summer treats!

4. Get the Cutest Gifts and Meet the Friendliest People at Charmed Boutique 

Asheville Latino Owned Businesses: Charmed Boutique
Images courtesy of Charmed Asheville

Charmed Boutique‘s offer is unbeatable: “Trending without Overspending.” What can be better than that? They have a little bit of everything, from earrings and cards for all occasions to trendy clothing, fashion accessories, and bath and body products. 

This is my go-to place to get gifts (especially gifts to myself!), and it’s also an excellent spot to get Asheville souvenirs. Besides showcasing and selling the work of local artists, including fun jewelry and stickers, they also offer goodies from other local shops like French Broad Chocolates, Poppy Handcrafted Popcorn, and Spicewalla.

What I love the most about Charmed is their effortlessly friendly and warm staff. Daniel, one of the co-owners, is Mexican/Bolivian and has created such a vibrant shopping experience which is also affordable (and plainly irresistible). In addition, they donate one percent of their monthly sales to a local nonprofit with their Charity of the Month Program.

You’ll love the colorful kimonos, the engraved leather bracelets, the variety of cat earrings, the Green Tree wooden jewelry, and the Betty White dangles. Visit them at one (or both!) locations downtown or shop online. 

Location: 46 Haywood Street, Asheville
Location: 8 Biltmore Ave, Asheville

5. Try Peruvian Fusion Fare at Mikasa Criolla in the Historic S&W Market in Downtown Asheville

Latino Latina Owned Businesses in Asheville: Mikasa Criolla
Images courtesy of Mikasa Criolla

Mikasa Criolla is another Latino-owned Asheville business that recently joined our incredible food scene. Chef Santiago Vargas and Ana Austin own this Peruvian fusion restaurant in the S&W Food Hall, serving traditional Peruvian food with a twist.

You’ll love Mikasa’s ceviches (including a vegan option), the rotating menu of empanadas, and the traditional Ají de Gallina (creamy chicken chili and queso Parmesano). For dessert, try the Chicha Morada Cheesecake (Unbaked Cheesecake, strawberry coulis, chicha morada, and wonton cinnamon and sugar) and the Alfajores de la Mama Sonnia (stuffed cookies with manjar blanco or dulce de leche). Of course, you must accompany your food with an Inka Kola or Pisco Sour!

The 1929 Art-Deco building, where the restaurant is located, is one of Asheville’s most recognized historical landmarks and Downtown Asheville’s only food court. It’s home to other superstar local businesses like Bun Intended, Highland Brewing, Buxton Chicken Palace, and The Hop Handcrafted Ice Cream. You’ll have a blast exploring the different food options. 

Location: 56 Patton Ave, Asheville

6. Treat Yourself to Folk Saints, the Best Argentinean Dulce de Leche in the World

I had the honor to witness how Folk Saints Dulce de Leche started. During the beginning of the pandemic, Florencia – another jewel born and raised in Argentina –needed to do something that would bring her close to home. She’s an excellent cook and has a remarkable sweet tooth. So, she began to make dulce de leche at home.

There are many things that I don’t want to remember about those days of isolation and uncertainty, but I do love to think about the jars of dulce de leche Flor would bring me to taste and judge. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was!

Once this sweet mama of two adorable kids got the product she wanted (it’s not easy to make dulce de leche from scratch), she teamed up with OWL Bakery to start using their kitchen to give life to this fantastic homemade dulce de leche.

You can find Florencia’s Folk Saints Dulce de Leche at All Day Darling and OWL Bakery (including the North Asheville Tailgate Market on Saturdays), and use it in whatever form you want: to top ice cream, to fill crepes, mixed with your coffee, spread on bread, apples, or bananas. Or, eat it in the purest Argentinean style: directly from the jar with a spoon by the fridge and with the door of the refrigerator still open.

Fun fact: AVL Today recently asked its readers for ice cream flavors that would best represent Asheville, and Mandy P. suggested “Penny Cup Coffee Co. coffee ice cream topped with chunks of dark chocolate from French Broad Chocolates and dulce de leche from Folk Saints. Mandy: you’re a genius!

7. Have the Best Pupusas and Other Central American Goodies at Pupuseria Patty

Who doesn’t love a freshly made, hot thick corn tortilla stuffed with yummy fillings and incredible amounts of cheese? That’s a pupusa, and the good news is that we have some of the best here in Asheville. 

Besides offering this excellent comfort food, Pupuseria Patty serves other staple dishes from Honduras and El Salvador, including baleadas, pollo con tajadas, and delicious breakfast options (the Combito has two corn tamales with cheese and sour cream).

This Asheville Latino-owned business has been a go-to place for the Spanish-speaking community, and it’s also becoming more popular among other local foodies. You’ll love how authentic the food and the vibe are, the affordable prices (four pupusas and a salad for $8!), and Patty’s family’s welcoming, lovely smiles.

The menu is broad but you must try the pupusas. The offerings include pupusas de frijol con queso, ayote, pollo, chicharron, queso con loroco/sin locoro, jalapeño, and jamón. They also offer delivery for a fee, takeout, and catering services, and are about to open a second location in Johnson City, Tennessee!

8. Get Tickets to See Miss Gay Latina Asheville, One of the Most Fun Events in Town!

Miss Gay Latina (MGLA) started in 2008 as a small drag competition organized by Elio González (Cuba) and held at a local church. It has now become one of the most festive and entertaining events in Asheville, celebrating inclusion and Latino/Latina and drag cultures (two of the most fun cultures in the world, if you ask me!). 

MGLA pageant brings participants from all over the country who want to go home holding the titles of Mr. Gay Latino Asheville and Ms. Gay Latina Asheville. But before then, they must take the stage to share a fabulous soiree of drag, music, and dance.

González continues to produce the event and is also the general director. MGLA occurs every November at the Wortham Center of the Performing Arts, Asheville’s main theater. It includes several categories like “folkloric outfits,” “five-minute talent show,” and “nightgown.” Also, VIP tickets offer preferred seating, a pre-show reception with drinks and light bites, giveaways, entertainment, and more. 

9. Treat Your Family to the Best Tres Leches Cake at Tienda Los Nenes

Support Latin Owned Businesses in Asheiville: Tienda Los Nenes
Images courtesy of Tienda Los Nenes

Tienda Los Nenes opened in 2010, and it’s been serving the Latin American community since then. This gem features a butchery, a grocery store with a wide variety of pantry food and antojitos (snacks), and a bakery where you can get the best Pastel Tres Leches in town. 

This Latino-owned Asheville business has two shops in Asheville and Hendersonville and belongs to the Soto family from Mexico City. It’s one of the go-to places to find spices and ingredients to make Latin American dishes and a favorite place to feel you are back in colorful Mexico.

You’ll love the baked goods, including the traditional panes (sweet bread) Mexicans eat in the afternoon with hot chocolate or coffee. This is a great place to get Rosca de Reyes in January and the traditional Pan de Muerto eaten during the Day of the Dead celebrations. 

Los Nenes’ Pastel Tres Leches is one of the best desserts in Asheville. When I asked what the secret was, they told me it was because it was not as sweet as others. I don’t know how that can be true because I can’t imagine a sweeter taste! You can buy it by the slice or order an entire cake (call first). The most popular fillings are peaches, pineapple, coconut, and walnuts. 

10. Start the Day Like Royalty By Eating a Tamal from Tamalería y Tortillería Molina 

Support Latin Owned Businesses in Asheiville: Tamaleria y Tortilleria Molina
Images courtesy of Tamaleria y Tortilleria Molina

There is an old saying: “Breakfast like a king; lunch like a prince; dinner like a pauper.” I believe no other Latin American country honors this advice better than Mexico. This country offers some of the best breakfast meals in the world, with one of its superstars being tamales. 

Tamaleria y Tortilleria Molina serves, hands down, the best tamales in Asheville. They are so good my body is aching while I write this without having a tamal nearby. They are large, fresh, and super yummy. Tamales are a breakfast food made in the morning. So, go there after you wake up to get some because they sell out fast.

In addition to tamales, this Latino-owned Asheville business has homemade tortillas enjoyed by families and restaurants all over town. Taco Billy, one of the best local taco places with two shops in West and North Asheville, serves their tortillas. 

Location: 809 Patton Ave, Asheville

11. Find the Home of Your Dreams or Sell Your Property Swiftly With Valeria at Asheville Home Realty

Valeria is a mom born and raised in Argentina, an architect, a broker, and owner of Asheville Home Realty. She’s also a kind, heartfelt human being and a super charismatic natural leader. Plus, she does excellent work in the community collaborating with the local nonprofit BeLoved Asheville as the volunteer Vice Chair Board member.

Valeria brings over 15 years of experience, passion, dedication, and professionalism that are hard to top. She has received too many recognitions that are impossible to name here, including being named one of the top 100 real estate agents in the area for six years.

Asheville Home Realty offers top-notch services to buyers and sellers, including an exclusive concierge seller service. They’ll prepare your home for the market, stage it to look its best, and keep it ready to show. You can forget the little details, like your yard’s appearance, and focus on your new adventures. They’ll even handle your pet during showings!

12. Take a Culinary Trip to Oaxaca with the Folks of Tequio Foods

Oaxaca is one of the richest regions of Mexico. There’s excellent food (including the best moles in the country), an outstanding mezcal culture, and thousands of profound traditions that are impossible for foreigners to understand but are totally worth celebrating.

Tequio is the Zapotec word to describe the action of people joining together to accomplish a common goal that will benefit the community. I’ve loved this concept since I learned about it during my first trip to Oaxaca.

Chef Luis Martínez founded Tequio Foods. The mission is “to import products to the United States East Coast in a manner that honestly and deeply supports independent, indigenous farmers that are keeping alive the Milpa and ancestral techniques that are the basis for strong Mexican agriculture and lifeways.”

In addition, Tequio Foods offers curated trips to discover the Oaxaca pueblos, where you’ll be immersed in the exuberant, mysterious culture of this part of the world. 

You’ll love visiting the local markets and getting chapulines (crickets anyone?) to make tacos, trying salsas made with bugs (salsa Chicatana), spending the evening exploring mezcalerías, and learning the art of making alebrijes (think about the movie Coco’s mystical fluorescent guardian creatures). 

There you have it! Twelve of the many amazing Latino and Latina-owned businesses in Asheville. Please give your favorite Latino and Latina-owned local businesses some love in the comments below!


Born in Argentina, Laura is a journalist who's lived in Asheville for 10 years. She loves all things Asheville, from the vast business scene to the beautiful nonprofits, magical people, and marvelous nature. She loves being involved in projects that are the change she wants to see in the world.

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