By: Stevette Ballog
If you like the sound of lechon asado, grilled and fried fish, arroz con gandules, fresh sandwiches, salads, ceviche, and more – all for under $11, then brace yourselves for where I am about to send you because you’ve probably passed the place a dozen times never realizing it was there.
Have I piqued your curiosity yet? Latin Quarters Café inside of the new Chevron gas station on Wiles Road surpasses expectations. Walk in and make your way past the Kit Kats Bars, beef jerky and candy and let the scent of a home-cooked meal tantalize your taste buds – and fill your tank.
Eating at a Gas Station?
If the thought of chowing down at a gas station makes you cock an eyebrow, well, maybe it’s time to reconsider. Four and five-star filling stations are popping up across the country. Once upon a time, people shunned the idea of eating out of a truck and the thought of a food truck or “lunch wagon” was considered strictly for construction workers while the rest of us were weary to even look at what they offered. Take a look at the food truck world now and they’re invading every town and rallying weekly.
I know what you’re thinking: you probably remember the days when the best you could get at a gas station was day-old hot dogs on roller grills, microwavable burritos and dried-out doughnuts. But this has all changed in cities around the globe where patrons can now fuel up while curbing their hunger pangs in just one stop. Think of Direct from Philly in Deerfield Beach where customers can scarf down one of the most authentic cheese steaks around or the mouthwatering bacon-wrapped chorizo dates and sangria at El Carajo International Tapas & Wines in Miami.
It’s about time Coral Springs got something just as fantastic in our hometown. When properly executed, there’s no better example of a hidden gem, and owner Yovanna at Latin Quarters Café has created something close to perfection.
It’s All About the Food
My sampling feast began with Yovanna’s homemade chicken soup. Lean chicken, sweet potatoes, noodles, fresh cilantro and more swimming in a delicious non-greasy broth; it was like Latin penicillin for the soul. Now I know where to go when I feel a cold coming on, because I enjoyed every spoonful. Next, I tried the ceviche. For $10, you get a great portion of sliced fish soaking in a perfectly spiced lime juice covered in red onions, peppers and cilantro. Yovanna serves her ceviche with corn and sweet potatoes and the flavor is on point. Want more variety? Order the mixed ceviche for a dollar more.
One of the first things I could smell when walking in was the roasted chicken so I had to try it. I ordered it with arroz con gandules and lentils. The chicken was tender and juicy, the rice, studded with olives and pigeon peas was delicious and the lentils, well, let’s just say that after one bite, I was in love. They were so flavorful and tasted like they had been cooking all day. I was extremely pleased with all three items and for under $10, how could you beat it?
Next, I moved over to the sandwich side of the menu. Latin Quarters Café serves over 10 varieties including Chicken or Steak Milanese, Sausage and Peppers, Pan con Lechon, Cubans and more. I opted for the Grilled Steak Sandwich which was topped with shredded lettuce, thinly sliced onions, tomatoes and mayo. I was shocked to learn that this tender and tasty sub-sized meal was only $6. You can also add fries and a drink for an additional $2.50. Needless to say, I had no room for anything else, but I know I will venture back for more soon.
Forget those lamp-heated mystery dishes at other fuel stations. Do yourself a favor when your stomach and your tank are on empty. Park, pump and pig out on Yovanna’s scratch made Mexican, American and Peruvian creations at Latin Quarters Café. They’re open for breakfast, lunch and early dinner so your options are endless. They even serve homemade Menudo on Saturdays. For me, that alone is worth the trip. If you’re in a major rush, be sure to call ahead to place your order. Oh, and another bonus – it’s clean. Like, really clean. I actually think it may be the cleanest gas station in town.
Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for a list of their daily specials! @latinquarterscafe
Be sure to tell Yovanna that Stevette from Fork Notes and Coral Springs Talk sent you and let us know what you think!
Latin Quarters Café
(Inside the Chevron Station)
7380 Wiles Road
Coral Springs, FL 33076
Mon-Fri: 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Sat: 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Sun: 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Stevette Balllog, formally from Chicago has been living in Broward County for 15 years. She has a B.S. in Culinary Management from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and is owner of the Fork Notes Blog. She loves to travel all over the US in search of the best food, wine and craft beer, and she loves to cook. If you have an idea for a restaurant for her to review, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org follow her on Twitter at @Forknotes