It was a warm spring day in the month April when I was walking back from the spin studio that I had been going to since January. As I passed by the store that advertises Dungeons & Dragons game nights, I turned to look in the windows of the next building, and a sign was in the window. An arepas restaurant was opening… soon, it said! In a fit of excitement I misspelled on this Snapchat I took of the building.
Months passed, no arepas. It got a bit warm for me to do any extreme forms of cardio, so I took a break from spinning. And finally, the word of the restaurant’s opening came by way of Facebook, like it does these days. They were opening September 24, unfortunately a day I was going to be out of town. But that first meal back in town, we walked down there to check it all out to write about it for the Free Times.
There were several other people already sitting down in the casually styled space, enjoying their meals. We approached the counter and perused the menu for several minutes while the friendly folks behind the counter answered questions and showed us how big an arepa was before we ordered. Being brand new and having had a bigger opening weekend than anticipated, they did not have all menu items available.
After getting a Colita soda, a Pelua arepa, a Domino arepa, and an order of Classic Cachapas, we sat down to look around and watch cars pass by.
The cachapas, which is like a big corn fritter with a slab of queso within, was luxuriously warm and emitting just enough steam when it came to the table to signal that it was fresh and warm, but not dangerously hot. The sweetness of the corn and the saltiness of the cheese played perfectly off of one another. I will order this again and again, but next time not sharing it.
Each of us had an arepa. The Domino is vegetarian, filled with black beans and shredded queso blanco. Other meatless ones include the Queso Paisa (fresh cheese), Queso Amarillo (gouda cheese), and the Perico (scrambled eggs, tomatoes, and onions). Arepas are like biscuits that are made from corn flour, sliced in half, and filled with the aforementioned fillings, or meats. This makes them naturally gluten-free too, for those seeking that type of nutrition.
Arepazo is owned by siblings Jorge Barboza and Marisol Barboza, who are excited to fill this niche in the Midlands dining community with lots of Venezuelan food.
Check them out at 904 Knox Abbott Drive, across from Tony’s Pizzalicious, and next to Carolina Boots & Western Wear. It’s exciting to see the Cayce Avenues become the kind of neighborhood where frequented destinations are within walking distance. We’ll be gladly taking advantage.