Like other street fair foods, arepas are the kind of greasy calorie bomb you should only drop in your gut on special occasions. But when you shake up the frozen corn cake-and-mozzarella model with Guayanes cheese encased in spinach, oatmeal and chia-flaxseed arepas in addition to corn, you’ve got the makings of a daily indulgence.
Venezuelan native Monica Muzzo opened Arepa Factory this week to give the dish a modern, tradition-meets-New York makeover with a Chipotle-style ingredients bar of 21 fillings that include shrimp, sweet plantains and chorizo, as well as rotating specials like coconut goat. (Oh, and there are also 11 sauces.)
All arepas are gluten free and made on-site, and there are desserts like arroz con leche as well as fresh juices like pineapple lemonade. Hey, winter’s apparently not coming, so why not keep things tropical?