Venezuelan arepa and cachapa shop Arepa Mia is celebrating its 12th anniversary in May. In anticipation, the casual Avondale Estates restaurant will begin serving liquor—particularly Venezuelan rums—and add 12-15 cocktails to its beverage menu this spring. A new, 70-seat covered patio will provide a tropical-feeling respite for diners to kick back and indulge.
“Venezuela is my soft spot, being from there, and I’m a huge fan of rum,” Arepa Mia founder Lis Hernandez says. “We didn’t do it before because I couldn’t find the right rums here. Now I’m beginning to see them places.”
The “roneria” will feature flights of rum from different regions of Venezuela, served in traditional small gourds. Cocktails will lean refreshing, from Venezuelan-style mojitos that make you feel like you’re on the beach, to rum-spiked lemonade made with dehydrated sugar cane. Margaritas will feature Cocuy agave-based artisanal liquor, while mimosas come in flavors like guava, passionfruit, and soursop. The Old Fashioned will be made with rum and angostura bitters, and the rum and Coke is affectionately called Venezuelan Libre. The sangria recipe is inspired by Hernandez’s father, who was born in Spain.
Hernandez stresses that a full bar will be available, and she’ll even feature select cocktails using Southern-made bourbon. Beer and wine will continue to be served as well.
Hernandez says she’ll be updating the current bar seats to be more comfortable, but the biggest change, aside from the drinks, will be the patio. It will have a transparent roof to let the sunlight in and green plants to make it feel tropical.
“It’ll have a vibe like you are in Venezuela,” Hernandez says. “There, even before Covid, it was popular to eat outside at coffee shops, bars, and restaurants. It’s very natural.”
For those who like to bring Fido along, there’s a dog-friendly area with tables in the grass outside the patio.