New at Grandview Market: Cholo BBQ and ‘world’s best’ Cuban sandwich 

West Palm Beach food hall expands dining options


Down-home local barbecue has arrived at Grandview Public Market. So has the “world’s best” Cuban sandwich. 

Two new vendors made their entrance at the popular West Palm Beach food hall earlier this month. Cholo BBQ and El Cochinito debut as the eat-and-drink scene is bustling at the food hall and in the surrounding industrial area known as the Warehouse District. In August, the district welcomed the Steam Horse craft beer brewery with a block party. A spirits distillery is planned for the district as well. 

At Grandview, where a third not-yet-named restaurant is planned as well, the two new food stands may share some Latino inspirations, but they hail from different worlds. 

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Cholo BBQ is the brainchild of Chef Clay Carnes, the local meat master who brought steakhouse-level tacos to the Dixie Dining Corridor when he opened the Ecuadoran-inspired Cholo Soy nearly two years ago. Carnes unveiled the barbecue spot on Saturday, Sept. 8. 

El Cochinito is a family-owned sandwich shop in Los Angeles making its first foray outside L.A.’s Silver Lake neighborhood. The owners have West Palm ties – executive chef and co-owner Daniel Navarro and sister Natalie Navarro grew up here. It was their late grandmother, Gladys Gutierrez, who founded the original Cochinito on Sunset Boulevard in 1988. El Cochinito, which translates to “the little pig,” opened at Grandview Sept. 1. 

Here’s a quick look at each: 


Cholo BBQ 

Chef Clay Carnes, who left the kitchen of a Wellington steakhouse to open a taco shop on Dixie, says he was looking for “the next thing” when the possibility of a Grandview slot came up. His Cholo BBQ took over the Grace’s Fine Foods space. (Grace’s closed Saturday, Aug. 25.) 

“We’ve been tooling with this barbecue thing for quite a long time,” says Carnes, who toted several smokers to the market to prepare his pork and brisket specials. “This is like you’re in a garage band and you finally get to play concerts outside.” 

But don’t expect barbecue in any of the prescribed regional styles. Cholo’s idea of ‘cue involves custom-blended dry rubs emboldened by dried chiles, cumin and other Ecuadoran-accented spices. (Carnes spent years cooking in Ecuador.) 

“We’re not claiming to be any particular style. The name of the game here is simple, just well prepared, smoked meats,” says Carnes. That mission is epitomized in Cholo BBQ’s tender, smoky brisket and ribs.

Expect sandwiches and platters featuring smoked, pulled pork and brisket, appetizers like roasted jalapeño smoked Florida fish dip with corn chips, and for dessert, key lime pie. 


El Cochinito 

In L.A., the casual, 30-year-old Cuban restaurant is known for its stacked signature sandwiches, particularly its classic Cubano, which is marked with a tiny trophy on the menu. That’s because this was the sandwich that won the “World’s Best” prize in the “traditional” category at the International Cuban Sandwich Festival in Ybor City, Tampa, this spring. The Cochinito crew took home a blinged-out statue the size of a Cuban chef, plus the bragging rights. 

✔️ What’s your favorite Cuban sandwich? Vote in our poll

Founder Gladys Gutierrez, whose father was a 1950s-era restaurateur in Cuba, got her start cooking and catering Cuban dishes from her home kitchen in L.A.’s Silver Lake. That home-based business blossomed into a full-fledged restaurant, El Cochinito. Gutierrez died in 2014, but her legacy lives on in her grandson Daniel’s cooking. Daniel Navarro is not only a cook paying tribute to his abuela’s classic dishes, he’s a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef who has worked alongside a couple of James Beard Award-winning chefs – José Andres (The Bazaar, Jaleo, and other national concepts) and Ignacio Mattos (Estela, New York). 

But, yes, the heart of El Cochinito belongs to memories of a beloved grandmother. 

“My grandmother cooked daily at the restaurant for 26 years, and her passion for her food and our family deeply inspired me to carry on the tradition, while using my own experience in the industry,” Navarro said via a restaurant news release. 

Expect a simple menu at Grandview, dishes like roast pork, black beans and that classic, beautifully toasty Cuban sandwich. They also serve their signature Cochinito sandwich (pork, fried sweet plantains and onion), plus avocado salad, tropical fruit shakes and abuela-approved flan.  

El Cochinito occupies part of what is now Clare’s Chicken, which was reduced in space. It opens daily from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. 


IF YOU GO

Grandview Public Market: 1401 Clare Ave., West Palm Beach


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