Arepazo Tapas Bar Grille: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
Interviewee: Brian O’Connor, executive chef and Carolina Gutierrez, owner (not pictured)
Location: 515 South High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Q | What are the most popular items on your menu? Why?
A | Patacon is very popular. I believe it is the authentic and mind-blowing combination of the sweet plantain and the hand-shredded meat. It’s loaded with fresh avocado, green leaf lettuce, provolone and mozzarella cheeses, banana peppers and Mojito (fresh pico de gallo).
Q | Are there any items NOT on your menu that are staff favorites (that you’d be willing to serve up to any customer who asked)?
A | Everything we love about our food is on the menu!
Q | For those not familiar with traditional Venezuelan food, what’s a super typical dish that you serve?
A | The Pabellon Criollo (Venezuelan Platter) has shredded meat, black beans, rice, sweet plantains, and deep fried corn meal. Our empanadas are also Venezuelan! They are huge pockets filled with meat, and you can add cheese, Mojito, rice or beans. It is made on the spot, loaded with our house-made cilantro sauce.
Q | The general consensus of your Yelp reviews is to basically drown everything you order in your famous cilantro sauce. I know it’s probably a secret recipe, but what can you tell us about it? Can patrons buy some to take home?
A | Yes, customers can buy a 12oz bottle for $6 or a 24oz bottle for $9 at any of our three locations. It started as family recipe originally called Guasacaca, where the main ingredient was avocado. Unfortunately avocados “oxidize” when they are exposed to air, just like an apple or a potato. We experimented with other ways to make a house sauce, and that’s how the the cilantro sauce came about…and it was a hit!
Q | What does “El Arepazo” mean? I see “arepas” on your menu, so is it related to that word?
A | Yes, Arepa is one of the most traditional dishes in Venezuela and Colombia. We eat these for any of our three meals. Sometimes as the main course or as a small portion. (Chef’s note: It’s also a delicious Latin street food!)
Fact: Arepazo’s Colombian Sweet Corn Cake is my most-craved dish in all of Columbus. That really says something since we have soooo many wonderful places/dishes to eat!