ANN ARBOR, MI — Ann Arbor will soon have a new restaurant serving up authentic Peruvian food.
Culantro plans to soon bring its fast-casual Peruvian eatery to North Main Street in Ann Arbor. The new restaurant is aiming to open its second location in The Broken Egg’s former location, 221 N. Main St., by early to mid-October.
Culantro began in downtown Ferndale in 2018 after co-owner Betty Shuell noticed a lack of Peruvian restaurants in Michigan. Shuell owns the restaurant alongside her husband, John, and son, Alvaro Herrera.
Herrera and his mom are behind creating all the restaurant’s authentic recipes, he said, adding the pair still manage to bring their own twist to the menu.
Customers can expect to find some authentic Peruvian dishes like pollo a la brasa, ceviche and lomo saltado. Herrera said the restaurant’s Ferndale location also offers vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options which he believes will also come to Ann Arbor.
“We have made all our recipes as authentic as we can while also still reflecting the needs and wants of the community around us,” he said.
“Culantro is very much like comfort food,” he added. “We have a lot of people come in … and tell us (our food tastes) the same way their grandmother would make it at home or that they only have dishes like this when they visit Peru.”
Herrera said the family business felt like Ann Arbor was a “good fit” for what it is all about. He said the family really got to experience what the city has to offer as his sister attended the University of Michigan.
“The reason we have had success in Ferndale is I believe because of how open and diverse (it is),” Herrera said. “It’s a town that really celebrates that and I saw the same thing in Ann Arbor … There are a lot of people that would be familiar with what we do and, if not, at the very least they would be open to trying (Peruvian food.)”
Many of Culantro’s current customers are already from Ann Arbor which was just another reason for choosing the city, Shuell said, adding she is very excited to bring another location for her restaurant and offer Ann Arbor another option for diverse food.
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