By: Amalia Klinck-Shearman
Downtown Winston Salem’s famous restaurant row on 4th street welcomed a new restaurant last month with the grand opening of Mundo Global Tapas.
Mundo Global Tapas replaced Dioli’s Trattoria which closed down in early August. According to the Winston-Salem Journal, Dioli’s owners Karen and Roger Diolo decided to shut down Dioli’s after three years to be able to better focus on their restaurant in Reynolda Village, Pan e Vino, and Dioli’s Market by the Reynolda Manor Shopping Center.
Mundo is located at 401 West Fourth St. and is next to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts Stevens Center of the Performing Arts in downtown Winston-Salem.
Numerous restaurants have come and gone from the space adjacent to the Steven’s Center lobby over the past 30 years.
“Since 1983, we’ve leased the first floor to restaurateurs including Café Piaf, Camel City, Dioli’s, and now Mundo,” said UNCSA News Services Manager Lauren Whitaker. “Not only is the first-floor restaurant a great use of space, it is a nice fit for our patrons, and for the community. We look forward to a long and successful relationship with our current partners, Mundo.”
Other Winston-Salem residents have also seen the coming and going of different restaurants in the Steven’s Center space. “When I came 24 years ago, Café Piaf was in that spot. Later came Camel City with John Hughes who was there for a number of years. Then was Dioli’s that was there for a few years,” said Assistant Manager of UNCSA Stevens Center Kay Bosworth.
Still, restaurant owner Eric Muck and chef Jared Lee, who opened the restaurant together, are hopeful and confident about the future success of Mundo.
The opening of Mundo is part of a recent trend of new restaurants opening in downtown. The Restaurant Row Project started as part of the revitalization of downtown. It began several years ago as an incentive for restaurant owners to open new businesses downtown and attract more residents downtown. The city loan program began with the opening of twelve new restaurants, according to the City of Winston-Salem, and has since then grown to include many more.
Mundo restaurant owners declined to discuss the financing of their restaurant, but said they wanted to bring a restaurant with a diverse menu to as a way to attract a diverse crowd. Featuring small plates, or tapas, Mundo is preparing a variety of dishes inspired from a range of countries including the Catalan region of Spain, Honduras and Mexico.
The menu, which offers mini small plates, skewers, veggie smalls and biggie smalls includes items from the Catalan region of Spain like crostini Catalan, Honduran mussels tapado from Honduras, skewers Lebanese from Lebanon and Hispanic influenced camarones zarandeados (or marinated and tossed shrimp).
This style of dining was “based around multiple, small plates and friends dining together and sharing interesting, new tastes,” said restaurant owner Eric Muck.
“The dining experience was different here. It was fun, social and more about sharing things and having fun with the people you’re with,” said Mundo diner Catherine Watkin.
In designing their new restaurant after over two decades of experience in the restaurant business, Muck and Lee wanted to bring a different type of restaurant to the area.
“We wanted to make tapas that were from all around the world where the customers would sit around a table, share small dishes, and feel at home,” said Mundo Chef Jared Lee.
Muck has been in the industry for over 25 years having worked at local restaurants including Noble’s Grille and as a chef at Bistro 420 which later became Hutch and Harris.
Lee, who began his culinary career at 15, has been the executive chef at a number of Winston-Salem restaurants including Noble’s Grille, where he met Muck. He also started his own consulting business called Blue Willow Consulting where he was a consultant for various restaurants like Ryan’s Steakhouse, Lucky Blue, and Tate’s Craft Cocktails.