By: Monica Rook – Senior, Communication
What do you think of when you hear ‘comfort food’? Is it creamy mac and cheese or a hot slice of pepperoni pizza? Or do you crave lasagna and garlic bread after a long, stressful day? To me, you haven’t experienced comfort food until you’ve tried Arepas & Co., a Dayton restaurant that specializes in Colombian comfort food. Nothing is more satisfying than a plate heaped with rice, beans and beef smothered in a creamy cilantro sauce. Think Chipotle, but with authentic Colombian flavor and without the slow lines.
“The food is all about flavor,” said Mike Martin, general manager at Arepas & Co. “Comfort food should make you think of home, and that is what most of our Colombian customers tell us. Our food reminds them of their grandmother’s house or aunt’s house.”
When eating at Arepas & Co., you’ve got to start your meal with the yuca fries. Yuca is similar to the potato and is popular in South American cuisine. When fried and served with Rosada dipping sauce, yuca becomes the kind of delicious that french fries could only dream to be. My favorite item on the menu, and the one I can’t seem to resist ordering every time I go, is the Colombian platter. If you’re dining on a dime, you definitely get your money’s worth with this platter.
A mound of rice and beans is topped with your choice of meat – beef is my favorite – and then covered in one of Arepas & Co.’s flavorful sauces. A fried plantain is included on the side of the platter, and while a strange fried banana might be intimidating at first, I promise, the plantain will be your best friend. A fried plantain tastes uncannily like a McDonald’s hash brown and goes great with Arepas & Co.’s cilantro mayo.
But Arepas & Co. has much more to offer than just their food. They are a family owned and operated business which allows them to interact with their community with warmth and familiarity.
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“We like our customers to come in, and feel like they have just stepped into the home of a grandmother or a family member,” said Martin.
Moreover, with locations all over the Dayton area, you’re almost always just a few minutes away from Colombian comfort food bliss. The two locations that are closest to campus are on 3rd Street and at Second Street Market. The 3rd Street location is in an old diner, so you get a fun retro feel as you chow down. The Arepas & Co. location at Second Street Market is also a great idea if you’d like to stroll around and look at vendors while you snack on a fresh empanada. Either way you go, you can’t lose because great food at a great price is involved.
Photos Courtesy of Monica Rook and arepasandco.us