Francisco Mohamed wanted to bring a little Latin American flavor to the Waukesha food scene, and he's done exactly that.
Mohamed, who's from Venezuela, opened his new 'Latin fusion' restaurant, Arepanitas, 136 E. St. Paul Ave., on July 14. So far, business has been promising — with some room for improvement, he said.
'Thank God, so far so good,' he said, and added that he wanted to continue to get the word out about his small takeout restaurant.
'We need to be in the mind of the people,' he explained.
According to its website, the restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
Plans for Arepanitas have been in the works for several months — Mohamed said in January that he hoped to open the restaurant this spring — and included one location change.
Arepanitas is housed inside the former Cafe De Arts building, notable for its purple and floral exterior, just north of downtown. Cafe De Arts moved about a half-mile west of the old location to 830 W. St. Paul Ave., late last year.
Mohamed, whose wife is from Spain, said he wanted to incorporate dishes from across Latin America in the Arepanita's menu.
'The idea is to bring to Waukesha another type of food,' he said.
Some menu items include:
·Arepas, a flatbread made of ground maize dough or cooked flour prominent in the cuisine of Colombia and Venezuela, which can be filled with ham, cheese, avocado, shredded chicken, tuna, beans, meatloaf, baked ham or scrambled eggs.
·Cachapas, a traditional Venezuelan and Colombian dish made from corn and can be made like pancakes.
·Pabellon criollo, a traditional Venezuelan dish found throughout the Caribbean. It is a plate of rice and shredded beef in stew and stewed black beans that is considered by many to be the Venezuelan national dish, Mohamed said.
·Cuban sandwich that is made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and sometimes salami on Cuban bread.