[image-1] “It’s food that we grew up eating.” That’s how Tomas and Linda Prado describe the Cuban fare they’ll be serving at Workshop’s newest concept, Spanglish.
Miami-born Chef Tomas Prado is no stranger to the Holy City. While he and Linda just moved here a few weeks ago, they’ve had their eye on Charleston, a city they’ve vacationed in several times, for a while now. Well, at least Linda did.
“I actually did dream that I was living here,” says Linda of the couple’s new home. “I said ‘Tommy, I don’t know about you, but I have a dream of us living in Charleston. I don’t know when or how but I see us living there.”
The when is, well, now, with Spanglish officially opening in Workshop at the beginning of May. The how? That’s all thanks to Charleston’s “exploratory food court.”
“We were visiting and we ate at Workshop,” says Prado. “We saw how great the space was and reached out to Michael [Shemtov, owner of Workshop]. It was a few months of back and forth and then we made the plunge.”
[image-4] Prado was plunging all the way from Brooklyn, where he served as the executive sous chef at Westlight, a rooftop bar at the William Vale hotel. Before Westlight, Prado served as executive chef at the Golden Fig, a farm-to-table concept in Miami.
Golden Fig utilized a lot of regional produce, with Prado saying that 80 percent of the products he used were from the Southeast. That farm-to-table, hyper local concept has served Prado well in Charleston so far — he’s already got contacts for several producers in the area, ones he made when working at Golden Fig. [image-2] “Spanglish Cuban Kitchen will use local and Southern ingredients,” says Prado. “We like to call it Cuban American because technically my parents are Cuban, I was born in Miami.” Linda adds, “What we know is what our parents taught us, and the one time we visited Cuba.”
Prado says that Cuban cuisine has a lot of West African influences — similar to a lot of traditional Southern dishes. “I think it will do well,” says Prado of Spanglish. “The ingredients are familiar, there’s different seasoning and flavor on them, but I think it will work well in this market.” (This comment is followed by a laugh and knock on the wooden table at which were seated). Prado hopes, if Spanglish takes off in Workshop, to open his own brick-and-mortar in Charleston.
[image-5] While the Spanglish menu is not complete quite yet, Prado promises traditional Cuban sandwiches (duh), bowls, and with some twists like chicken fricassee. And you don’t have to wait until May to try Prado’s dishes: Spanglish will be hosting pop-ups at the Daily throughout April.
Starting next Wed. April 4, The Daily hosts Spanglish pop-ups every Wednesday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., offering three menu items for lunch. On the first two Sundays in April you can try three brunch/lunch items from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
And if you like what you taste? Well, that works just fine for Linda, who promises, “We aren’t leaving Charleston anytime soon.”