OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — On this Take Out Tuesday, morning anchor Serese Cole takes us to El Arepon, the only Venezuelan restaurant in the state of Nebraska.
The owner of El Arepon started his business in a food truck. Now he's located in one of the most popular food halls in the metro where he's serving up a taste of his culture.
Richard Mendoza has been making Venezuelan food all of his life.
Last year, he opened his own restaurant, El Arepon.
“Growing up, I remember every single corner you go and visit was something like this,” said Mendoza.
Bringing a taste of his home country to Omaha. Now, he's inviting you to try it.
If you come to El Arepon and you're not sure what to get, the arepas are a good start. They are the most popular item on the menu and they make about 100 of them each day. He makes the patty for the arepas, just like everything else here, from scratch. Once it's grilled, it's stuffed with goodness.
“The beans, meat, fried plantain. It's just the explosion of different flavors in one bite,” said Mendoza.
The Reina Pepiada arepas are loaded with shredded chicken and an avocado salad with onion and cilantro. The empanadas are popular here, too.
“You can stuff it with anything,” said Mendoza.
Once he puts what you want inside, it's sealed, fried and ready to eat. But there’s a special way to do it.
“This is finger food. You take a little bite, put a little sauce, so that's how we eat an empanada,” said Mendoza.
If you love a food challenge, the pepito is for you. Like any hot dog, there's a fresh bun, ketchup and mustard. He also adds coleslaw and your choice of meat. If that's not enough, it's topped with potato sticks, cheese, bacon and six different sauces.
Mendoza said a meal here is like a getaway.
“In 2020, you weren't able to go to the Caribbean, you weren't able to go out to Miami, this is the place to come,” said Mendoza.
Everything here represents Venezuela, from the gluten-free flour to the special sauces and desserts. Mendoza just wants you to come experience it.
“I promise you, you try, you will be back,” said Mendoza.
Mendoza added at his place, you can get a great meal for $10 or less. El Arepon is located inside The Switch Beer and Food Hall at 36th and Farnam.
Visit https://www.theswitchblackstone.com/vendors/el-arepon/ to see El Arepon's full menu.