Recently Opened Restaurants
by Julie Besonen, 01/20/2016
Courtesy, Arepa Factory
147 Ave. A, 646-490-6828, East Village, Manhattan
Arepa Factory is a tiny nook in the East Village that manufactures fresh, Venezuelan-style arepas daily. The restaurant uses a traditional corn flour base along with dough made from spinach, oatmeal or a mix of chia and flaxseeds. Its kitchen turns out an impressive selection of fillings for the tortillas: coconut lamb, roasted pork with shredded cheddar, and several fish and vegetarian options among them. Patrons can order prescribed combinations or mix-and-match at will. The flatbreads are a popular staple and street food in South America; they've infiltrated the North American psyche at the nearby Caracas Arepa Bar and, in Queens, the celebrated Arepa Lady, whose Colombian version sticks to simpler stuffings. The (lowercase) arepa lady at this indie, fast-casual spot is Monica Muzzo—a native of Maracaibo, Venezuela, who has lived in the City for several years and pushes cultural diversity when it comes to ingredients; there are nods to Thailand, Italy and down-home America. Her menu also includes finger foods like plantain-and-bacon balls and tequenos (fried white cheese wrapped in pastry crust), plus flan and spicy chocolate mousse. A limited number of stools and tables allow you to eat the arepas on-site, while they're hot.