Destination: Arepera Guacuco
Maybe you stopped by Arepera Guacuco because you smelled the fresh empanadas and arepas wafting into the street, or maybe you’ve walked past it a million times on your way home to our Bed-Stuy House but never been inside. Either way, now is the time to try our new favorite Bed-Stuy spot.
Guacuco is one of those places where you can find both authenticity and a welcoming atmosphere; somewhere that is just as vibrant in taste as it is in spirit. This Venezuelan restaurant, located just a 5-minute walk from our Bed-Stuy House and a short walk from our South Williamsburg House, has a no-frills, minimalistic interior, filled with primary colors, exposed brickwork, plants and even a hammock on the wall. Step inside to colorful murals set against wooden chairs and a fully stocked bar in the corner.
“Arepera” literally means “a place that sells arepas,” and “Guacuco” is the name of the Venezuelan beach where owner Leonardo Molina was born. This encapsulates the two sides of this restaurant and bar: its dedication to both family values and good food. Made from Carmen’s mother’s secret recipe, the arepas at Arepera Guacuco are freshly made every day. In fact, the entire menu is full of fresh, authentic ingredients. Find a selection of Venezuelan salads, empanadas and traditional dishes, including asopado de mariscos, cachapa, carite frito and, of course, arepas.
Our favorite is anything involving the shredded beef, which has a knack for melting in your mouth that we simply can’t explain. We love their version of Venezuela’s national dish, pabellon criollo (juicy shredded beef and sweet plantain, topped with aged cheese, rice, beans and a plain arepa on the side). Guacuco focuses on quality and all of their arepas and empanadas are made with 100% cornflour (using Harina P.A.N) and are gluten free and fresh to order. The wall art includes a mural of a Venezuelan beach and of a map of Bed-Stuy, capturing the unique fusion of cultures that Guacuco holds.
Although the food is great, Arepera Guacuco has much more to offer than just a simple dinner spot. First of all, let’s get back to that bar we mentioned. Their cocktails are delicious. Enjoy a sweet passion fruit mojito with fresh mint leaves, followed by a Venezuela libra. Or how about a coconut caipirinha, or a traditional pisco sour? If you arrive early, stop by for happy hour and stay for dinner for the perfect evening out.
Guacuco even has its own venue, The Back Room, tucked behind the restaurant and bar with a regular schedule of live music and stand up comedy. Find the latest listings on their Instagram, @thebackroomatguacuco. And if you wake up hungover on Sunday craving a bloody Mary, they’ve got a solution for that too, with a delicious weekend brunch menu. What else could you ask for?
Find the Bed-Stuy branch at 360 Throop Ave. and their sister Bushwick restaurant at 44 Irving Ave.
Arepas Guacuco, Bed-Stuy,
360 Throop Avenue