Sabor Hispanic Cuisine will be opening its doors tomorrow, June 5, in the abandoned spot once named Lettuce Eat on 9th Ave.
“The owner wanted to convert the building to an office space and I asked to keep it as is (a restaurant) and give me a chance,” said owner and prep cook, Dannon English. “They were kind enough to do so and in so doing I have made plenty of necessary improvements. I am grateful for their kindness and opportunity to pursue my dream.”
English tasted his first “real tamale” two years ago. With the influence of his wife, who is from Chile, it has been a dream of his to open a restaurant with a taste that is authentically south of the border.
“We wanted to open a Mexican/Hispanic Restaurant because I was tired of the quality of food called ‘Mexican,’” said English. “I realize Americans are not very familiar with this unique food product and its many variations of preparation. My ultimate goal is to educate Pensacola about the tamale and eventually franchise the concept and provide economic growth for the Gulf Coast.”
Sabor will not only be unique because of its authenticity, but also because half of the menu will be vegan options. The vegan dishes were a happy accident to English and his wife.
“Vegan came about three months ago when I catered a private party,” English said. “She asked for it and we delivered with amazing results. My wife and I were impressed.”
Most of the Sabor menu items have influences from Mexico, South and Central America. English has his predictions of what dishes will cause the biggest stir.
“Poblano and cheese tamale (vegan) will be the most popular,” English said. “Second will be chicken and green chili tamale, third pebre and rice.”
The availability of some dishes will change periodically as English plans to use Facebook to let customers dictate the menu.
“We want to master our procedure and then add new items as our guests see fit,” English said. “Ultimately, the restaurant belongs to the people. When demand is given then it shall be added to the menu.”
Some upcoming specials include ceviche, shrimp tamales, fried fish plate, Argentina salad and fish tacos.
English hopes to add to the culture of Pensacola. He has a laundry list of goals set for Sabor.
“I hope that this food will: represent the Hispanic community correctly and authentically, provide unaware Americans that there is something more than the typical fanfare called Mex, set the bar as to real tastes and experiences south of the border, put to shame the current restaurants that carry the name Mexican and fundraising opportunities for NFP and local Schools.”
Right now, Sabor only has six employees. English wants to expand and possibly produce a food truck or two.
“Job growth opportunities – imagine tamale carts at a baseball game, or street corner,” English said. “Chicago does it, why can’t we?”
WHERE: On the corner of 9th Avenue and LaRua St.
HOURS: Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Closed Monday
Delivery hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.