Abuela’s Little Kitchen is moving, a new Mexican street food restaurant opening in Arden
Julio Guadalupe and Tanya Trejo, owners of Abuela’s Little Kitchen, moved the restaurant to a larger physical space less than a mile away at 6 Long Shoals Road in Arden.
The building was previously occupied by JK’s Kitchen, which closed last August after 15 years in business.
The restaurant offers Spanish and American cuisine for breakfast and lunch.
“We wanted to do something different in Asheville, not just a regular Mexican restaurant that you go to,” Trejo said. “Let’s have breakfast. Let’s do an American breakfast with a little Hispanic flair and Hispanic breakfast dishes that you haven’t seen here in Asheville.”
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In March, the restaurateurs plan to introduce a new concept in their former storefront, at 200 Julian Lane, called Abuela’s Cravings.
The restaurant will offer tacos, tortas, burritos and Mexican street food, from condiments to snacks like corn-on-the-cob chicharrones made with pork skins, avocado, tomatoes and other toppings.
“It’s a different food that we haven’t seen here,” Trejo said.
Big breaks for Abuela
Before opening Abuela’s Little Kitchen, Guadalupe and Trejo worked in the service industry—Trejo as a server and Guadalupe as a cook—for more than 15 years, which is how they met.
“My dream was to one day own a restaurant. I didn’t know when,” Trejo said.
Then, in December 2020, they got the chance to open Abuela’s Little Kitchen, albeit challenged by the low customer traffic that came with the winter season and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We jumped at the chance and said, ‘Let’s try,'” she said. “Everyone was scared because everyone was closing because it was the middle of COVID, but we were like, ‘Let’s try. What do we have to lose? We tried it and people loved it.”
Now, the husband and wife are seizing the opportunity to expand the existing restaurant into a new, spacious dining room and kitchen and branch out into a second concept.
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Previously, Abuela’s Little Kitchen had a capacity of about 60 people at its 12 tables and a bar that held 10 guests, and had only one restroom.
Now the restaurant has a capacity of 120 people inside and about 40 more in the courtyard, there are also two toilets.
“It was so tiny there,” Guadalupe said. “Two people cannot be in the kitchen at the same time. It had to be one at a time. There’s plenty of room here, so it’s better than that.”
However, the smaller space is perfect for a casual Mexican food and snack establishment.
In the menu
Abuela’s Little Kitchen’s menu is the same for now, but new entrees will be added, and an adult menu is in the works, Trejo said. Restaurant bar service will resume soon.
Guadalupe heads the kitchen, preparing a menu of Mexican and American classics, dishes unique to the area, and “secret recipes” from Trejo’s grandmother — after whom the restaurant is named. The matriarch’s recipes include the popular green salsa, pancakes and signature French toast sauce.
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Abuela’s Little Kitchen’s top three sellers are chilaquiles, huevos rancheros and pambazos.
“Yes, you can have chilaquiles, but with our chilaquiles you can add chicken and chorizo to them. You don’t get that in other places and that’s the difference. I think a lot of people like that,” Trejo said.
Chilaquiles are also a favorite of the couple. They owe their popularity to spices.
“I work in the back of the kitchen, for me as a chef it’s hard to eat because I’m working all the time. I can hardly sit down and eat. But when I have time and I eat it, it’s like, ‘Wow, this is really good,’” Guadalupe said.
The breakfast menu includes crepes, pancakes, French toast and waffles with a variety of topping options, as well as omelets.
Lunch entrees consist of burgers, sandwiches, quesadillas and more.
“You will find the food to be amazing. Come try my grandma’s green salsa. People love it,” Trejo said.
Abuela’s Little Kitchen
Where: 6 Long Shoals Road, Arden
Opening hours: 7am-3pm every day
Info: See full menu at abuelaslittlekitchen.com. For more, call 828-676-2454.
Where: 200 Julian Lane, Suite 220, Arden
Opening March 2023
Opening hours: every day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m
Tiana Kennell is a food and nutrition reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA Today Network. Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter/Instagram @PrincessOfPage. Please help support this type of journalism with a subscription before the Citizen Times.
This article originally appeared in the Asheville Citizen Times: Abuela’s Little Kitchen Moves, Abuela’s Cravings Opens in Arden