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Cono Sur brings taste
 of Chile and Peru to Mills River

Co-owner Patricio Vera serves a customer at Cono Sur Latin Fusion in Mills River. Co-owner Patricio Vera serves a customer at Cono Sur Latin Fusion in Mills River.

MILLS RIVER — Travel from Hendersonville to Mills River and you’ll cross into the culture of Peru, Chile and even Puerto Rico.

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The cuisine of all three countries has influenced the food at Cono Sur, a Latin fusion restaurant that moved into the space formerly occupied by Nancy Lynn’s diner. Open seven days a week, Cono Sur has a huge chalk board of menu choices, ranging an authentic Cuban sandwich, a traditional Chilean empanadas or a cheeseburger and fries.
Although flame-roasted rotisserie chicken is a specialty, Cono Sur has so many choices that everyone can find something they like.
Founded by partners Patricio Vera and chef Sergio Castro, Cono Sur is named for the tip of South America, known as the southern cone. They serve Cono Sur wines, one of the largest exporters of wine from Chile, plus beer and Inka kola, Peru’s version of coke.
“We changed everything, we painted, we changed the floor, all this was our idea,” Vera said. “Most of the menu’s from Peru, some Chilean, some Puerto Rico, from Colombia. We both have our sons working for us, my son and his friend from high school” work there regularly.
Castro has been in the area for 20 years, running kitchens from Greenville, S.C., to Asheville.
Sergio CastroSergio Castro“I have run hotels, country clubs, I owned my own restaurant,” he said. He was executive chef of the Greenville Marriot, he ran Pomodoro’s on Long Shoals Road in Asheville and served as head chef at Lake Toxaway and Champion Hills golf clubs.
Soups and salads range from $4.50 for a house salad to $8 for the Inka and Andes salads. Sides include French fries, sweet potato fries, plantains and corn salad. Latin fusion specialties include empanadas (home-made baked pie with ground beef, onions, raisins, black olives, boiled egg, artichoke and cheese, $6.50), Palta Rellena (quinoa, chicken or shrimp salad on a bed of lettuce with avocado, $5.50-8), plus chicken, beef and pork dishes, from $6.50 to $12.50. Sandwiches include a Cuban ($9.50 including a side), cheeseburger ($5.50), chicken rollup ($8.50) and Butifarra (rotisserie pork shoulder in Portuguese bread with mayo, salsa Criolla, lettuce and tomato, $8.50).
Word of mouth has spread and Cono Sur has been busy.
“Finally, a good Cuban sandwich,” one diner wrote on Trip Advisor.
Another raved about the regular American fare: “The burger and fries at Cono Sur are a fair rival to Five Guys. It’s nice to get that quality without having to drive that far from Brevard. I like that there are high-quality burger/pizza options for those of us not interested in trying new kinds of foods, because not everyone does.”

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Cono Sur, at 4195 Haywood Road, is open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon-7 p.m. Sunday. Phone: 828-513-1731.