October 16, By Tara Law
The Arepa Lady, long known for serving Colombian-style street food, is about to start a new chapter at a bigger location on 37th Avenue.
The restaurant announced in August that it needed to move from its 77-02 Roosevelt Avenue location since the building will be demolished to make way for a new 7-story apartment complex.
The restaurant will be relocating in coming months to 78-31 37th Ave, which was formerly Ingrid’s Salon and is next door to Starbucks, according to owner Alejandro Cano. The new location is 1,200 square feet and has room for about 30 seats. Its current space is a mere 400 square feet.
“It will be much roomier and more accommodating to big groups,” owner Alejandro Cano said, adding that “When it’s full you can barely move.”
The announcement of the new location was first reported by DNAinfo.
Nevertheless, Cano is anxious about the future.
“They forced us to close here, it’s nothing that we wanted,” he said. “We’re still a bit nervous because we haven’t signed anything yet.”
Cano said that he hopes to sign the lease agreement this week.
The lease agreement does not permit the restaurant to serve tea or coffee due to a Starbuck’s being located next door. Cano said that the provision does matter since the Arepa Lady does not serve breakfast.
The restaurant, started by Alejandro’s mother Maria Cano— dubbed the “Arepa Lady”— has a legacy of adaptability.
Maria was a judge in the Colombian city of Medellín when she fled the drug war for a new life in the U.S. For more than 30 years, she sold arepas from a food cart on Roosevelt Avenue.
The arepas became very popular, and she managed to open a brick and mortar store at 77-02 Roosevelt Avenue.
Maria has since retired, but often visits the kitchen. Her son, Alejandro, and his wife Nelly Klinger carry on her legacy.
“I still call her every day to ask her stuff,” said Alejandro.