Say hello to arepas at Hola Arepa. It’s a lively eatery that buzzes with a sunny South American vibe. The business started as a food truck and introduced Latin street food to the streets of Minneapolis.
It also introduced its namesake dish, arepas, which are small pancake-like disks made from cornmeal dough that’s flattened into patties and cooked to crispy perfection on a griddle. Arepas arrive topped or stuffed with meats, veggies, cheese and homemade aioli or chimmichuri sauce. The food truck’s success drove them to open a brick-and-mortar Hola Arepa in what was formerly a 7-Eleven. Food and Wine magazine soon featured the new venue on its cover and named it one of America’s best new restaurants in 2015.
Dig into Hola fare and you’ll see why. Choose from arepas loaded with shredded beef and plantain, slow roasted pork, chorizo sausage and other goodies. Add on black beans, crunchy pickled cabbage, coarse mustard and cotija cheese that combine for mouth watering flavor. The menu isn’t limited to arepas, however. They also serve up small plates with empanadas, tostadas, fried brussels sprouts and cauliflower. You’ll definitely want to add an order of yucca fries with chimmichuri sauce or aoli verde, or both, on the side. A favorite spot for brunch, too, with a menu heavier on the huevos.
Not surprisingly, Hola Arepa is often jam packed. Yet even the wait for a table can be fun in this boisterous hangout. The weathered wood tables and bright turquoise walls and chairs convey a welcoming tropical feeling. Belly up to the bar and watch as bartenders shake up cocktails that have a Latin flare. Try, for example, the “Sun Down, High Tide,” a creative concoction of cognac, pisco, dry curacao, apple cider grenadine, allspice dream, lemon and pineapple. They also serve beer, wine, seasonal sangria and soda.
In warm weather, Hola Arepa expands by opening its walls to the outdoors and serving diners and drinkers on its large dog-friendly patio.
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