The twelve-year-old East Village institution Caracas Arepas Bar has been closed for over two weeks due to a reported gas leak on August 8th. While the fate of the beloved sit-down restaurant won't be determined until a long-awaited ConEd inspection slated for Wednesday, the takeaway counter two doors down is still doling out those piping hot corn cakes in over ten different varieties. As a matter of fact, this city has no shortage of the beloved Venezuelan sammies, and here are five stellar areperas to prove it.
Caracas To Go: Head two doors down from the bar (91 E 7th St) for a condensed take-out menu of Caracas' signature arepas like the La Sureña (chicken, chorizo, chimi-churri) and a vegetarian Leek Jardinera (grilled leeks, sundried tomatoes, guayanés cheese).
Arepas Cafe: Take your pick from 24 different fillings ranging from shredded beef and stewed chicken to sweet plantains and baby shark at this no-frills Astoria haunt. A pocket-friendly lunch special gets you a choice of arepa and a traditional drink (passion fruit juice, sugar-cane lemonade) for just seven bucks.
The Arepa Lady: After two decades turning out griddled corn patties from a cart on Roosevelt Avenue, street-food legend Maria Cano opened her brick-and-mortar shop last year in Elmhurst. Swing by either location for a taste of the famed arepas de queso (cheese) and arepas de choclo (sweet corn).
Arepera Guacuco: Queens may boast some big-name Venezuelan spots, but this colorful, 30-seat spot in Bushwick brings one home for Brooklyn with pitch-perfect pabellón (shredded beef, plantains, black beans, salty white cheese), pernil (pulled pork shoulder) and a vegan option with mushrooms, leeks, tomatoes and jalapeños.
Patacon Pisao LES: This acclaimed Lower East Side counter may be named after the patacon—a different street dish made with fried plantain—but the arepas are certainly not an afterthought. The all-gluten-free rounds come fried or grilled in varieties like shredded beef, ham and cheese and the arena reina pepia nestling avocado and chicken salad.