If you're lucky, your server might just dance for you at Cafe Salsera, a new place that opened this week in Deep Ellum.
The restaurant, salsa dancing club and coffee shop will train all of its servers in the art of salsa dancing in case the mood strikes, says owner Wilson Chan.
His new restaurant is a combination of bucket-list dreams: He always wanted to own a cafe, and he's interested in a place where servers entertain guests. Chan found inspiration at a diner in Manhattan where the waiters and waitresses sing during dinner. But singing wouldn't work.
"I don't sing. I don't sing at all," he says. "But I dance salsa." And so will his servers.
The menu, created by chef Iris Guerra, is Latin/Caribbean cuisine. The chef takes cues from traditional Latin American dishes but then gives some "a twist," explains Alejandra Iraheta, communications and public relations manager at Cafe Salsera. For instance, albondigas -- spicy meatballs usually served in a tomato sauce -- are made at Cafe Salsera both in the traditional way and as vegetarian meatballs.
The menu also includes jerk shrimp tacos, mini empanadas and roasted chicken with plantains.
Here's a look inside the restaurant:
Owner Chan picked Deep Ellum as the neighborhood to open his first restaurant because he likes the foot traffic. "People actually walk by your store. That's what I like about it," he says. On Friday and Saturday nights, servers will push tables out of the way and turn the restaurant into a salsa club -- which will likely turn the heads of those walking by on Elm Street. Deep Ellum doesn't have many places to dance.
Cafe Salsera opens early -- at 7 a.m. Monday through Friday and at 10 and 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, respectively -- so it can also operate as a coffeehouse early in the day.