Tasty Tuesday: Z’s Casita introduces island flavor, flare to Wytheville’s downtown

From a hot Cuban to flan and empanadas to plantains, Z has you hooked up with all the island greats!

WYTHEVILLE, Va. – Zulma Alicea is a one-woman wrecking crew. Flying solo, she opened Z’s Casita in April of 2022 and is seeing immediate results from a town like Wytheville.

She tells us, “The Latin influence is going to do very well in this town at this point.”

Alicea is from Puerto Rico, and she’s proud to share that flare with her customers.

“For the specials, it’s mainly Puerto Rican dishes – very typical to what I would do at home for my own family. These are recipes that I’ve done for my entire life. They’re pretty much perfected because I’ve been cooking them for 40 years.”

This can range from hearty soups to classic empanadas - filled with either beef or chicken. The staple in recent months is something you might have had elsewhere.

“The staple is the Cuban sandwich, because everybody knows the Cuban sandwich.”

Z’s Cuban is different!

“This is more of a Tampa-style Cuban, because it has salami in it. For the most part, the Cuban has to have the roasted pork. Our Cuban here is roasted pork, ham, salami, swiss, mustard and pickle.”

For the sweeter side of things, she brought out plantains and her homemade flan. While you often find a personal serving size in her shop, her menu says you can get a larger one by pre-ordering.

Chances are you’ll want more of everything!

At the end of the day, that’s the most important part to Alicea - and a big reason as to why she opened up shop in the first place.

“One of the most fulfilling things in this business is to know that I’m making a lot of people happy.”

About the Author:

Meteorologist Chris Michaels is an American Meteorological Society (AMS) Certified Broadcaster, forecasting weather conditions in southwest Virginia on WSLS 10 News from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays on Virginia Today.