Ride Charlotte’s light rail to Venezuela

By Tom HanchettEunice-arepas

There’s a tasty outpost of Venezuela in south Charlotte just off Woodlawn Road.  And you can ride the LYNX light rail to get there.

Just exit the train at the Woodlawn stop and walk east across Old Pineville Road to the big welcoming windows of Arepas Grill.

Eunice Marcano came from her native Caracas, Venezuela, two years ago.  She’d been a television production designer, “but I love to cook,” she smiles.  “The women of our family loved the kitchen.  I’d learned to make arepas with my grandmother.”

The arepa is a signature food of Venezuela.  A thick cornmeal pancake, just big enough to fit in your hand, is stuffed with an almost endless variety of hearty fillings.

Marcano  bought the existing Antojitos Mi Colombia bakery and experimented with adding arepas.  In September she renovated adjacent space as Arepas Grill, “to show and sell just like in Venezuela.”

The big signboard offers 16 fillings clearly described in English, ranging from Queso Guayanes (“Venezuelan traditional creamy cheese”) to Codorniz (“boiled quail’s eggs with pink sauce”).

Start with Pelúa, Eunice suggests.  Venezuelans love this shredded beef in a sauce that will remind U.S. natives of barbecue.  Another back-home favorite is Reina Pepiada, a chicken salad with avocado and cilantro.

For desert there’s sweet and moist tres leches cake or flan, the ubiquitous Latin American pudding.

Or you can slip next door to Antojitos Mi Colombia, where Marcano still spends part of her time.  Order a puff pastry with a filling of apple, guava, cream cheese or – the Colombian favorite – caramel.

Arepas Grill
Tuesday – Saturday  10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Sunday  10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

4740 Old Pineville Road
Charlotte, NC  28217
(704) 258 – 3502

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