Arepa Place, a Findlay Market staple known for its Colombian-inspired fare, will open its doors in Wyoming this weekend, a debut that has been months in the making.
The restaurant, the second brick-and-mortar location for owner Iris Arrieta-Dennis, will celebrate its grand opening Saturday at 11 a.m. following months of delays. Arrieta-Dennis purchased the building at 1517 Springfield Pike, formerly home to CWC the Restaurant, in August and has navigated several supply chain issues and more in order to transform the space into her own.
There is a high level of excitement, she says, about finally sharing it with the community at large. She says it will definitely be worth the wait.
“We wanted to build a welcoming place for the whole family,” Arrieta-Dennis says. “It’s a place where everyone will feel comfortable.”
Arepa Place specializes in Colombian-style Latin American fare. Arrieta-Dennis and her mother are responsible for all the restaurant’s recipes and make all the arepas and empanadas from scratch—a true labor of love. Arrieta-Dennis says it takes roughly five hours just to make the dough starting by boiling and grinding corn.
Menu favorites include the Great Arepa, with steak, chicken, chorizo, black beans, cheese, and fried plantains; Arepa De Huevo, a deep-fried arepa with egg and ground beef; and empanadas, filled with ground beef, cheese, chicken, or potato and eggplant. The restaurant also offers breakfast arepas.
Food will be served in a fast-casual fashion. Patrons come in and place their order at a front counter before sitting down. Fare at the Wyoming location will mirror the Findlay Market location, she says.
Arepa Place features a full bar with wine and four beers on tap, including a locally made Samual Adams beer brewed specifically for the restaurant, Avena Colombiana, an ale made with oat milk. A host of specialty drinks are also planned, highlighted by the “Maria Mulata,” a house cocktail made with Colombian lemonade and rum.
To make the space her own, Arrieta-Dennis commissioned a new mural for the exterior of the building, painted by local artist Brandon Hawkins.
Inside, crews relocated the main entrance to the front of the building, expanded the kitchen, and added a walk-in refrigerator and freezer, utilizing a grant from Main Street Ventures, a local entrepreneurial support group.
The building gives Arepa Place enough capacity to handle all production on-site for both locations.
Chris Arrieta-Dennis says that was key to the couple’s decision to locate in Wyoming. The pair also has ties to the community. Arepa held a pop-up event at CWC in 2018, borrowing the CWC kitchen; Arepa Place opened its first brick-and-mortar at Findlay Market that same year. Chris Arrieta-Dennis is also a Spanish teacher at Wyoming High School.
“The pop-up was really key for us, and it’s fun how it all came full circle,” he says. “We actually had an offer on another place, but as soon as this building hit the market, we knew we wanted to be here. The Wyoming community seems excited about another food option and is really cognizant about supporting small businesses.”
The restaurant will offer carry out and a small mini-market with various grocery items. Chris Arrieta-Dennis says a large patio out back will open during warmer weather with some aesthetic improvements planned.
Arepa Place is located at 1517 Springfield Pike, in the former CWC the Restaurant building, and is open six days a week: from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturdays, and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays.