There's one man bringing a whole new twist to arepas in New York City. His name is Celestino Diaz and he's the proud owner of Areppas restaurant (it's spelled like that on purpose, by the way), a little slice of heaven in Manhattan. Executive chef Gabriela Machado is bringing what the restaurant calls healthy gluten-free arepas to the US, made with carrots, beets, parsley, cilantro, lime zest, chicken broth, and corn flour instead of the traditional ground maize or cooked flour dough.
"I've had this idea for a long time. I wanted it to be easier and faster to order and eat arepas, and no one was doing it yet," Diaz told POPSUGAR about his restaurant on the phone. "The idea was born when I studied abroad in boarding school and friends from all over would come over to eat arepas; they loved them."
Areppas is currently doing a soft opening, but will hopefully be open full-time on Oct. 2, Diaz told us. From the menu, you can choose blanca, roja, sol, verde, or nada arepas, filled with chicken salad, grilled chicken, beef short ribs, steak, pulled pork, or their vegana mix. You can even add toppings for an extra price (including eggs whites, perico, turkey, avocado, jamón, black beans, and jalapeños) and cheeses, like gouda, cheddar, cotija, guayanés, and buffalo mozzarella. The final step is to "get saucy" and choose from roasted garlic cream, ají amarillo, and salsa rosada.
The best part? There's a charitable aspect to your meal. "We are giving back one meal per meal bought at the restaurant [to people who need them in Venezuela]" Diaz said. "Right now, our main charity is called Fé y Alegria."
Here are some photos of their dishes that'll make you salivate.