The little house at 1122 East Dorothy Lane in Kettering has something of a bad reputation. It was previously La Victoria’s Burrismos, before that Cafe Mexico, Casa Amici, and a number of other concepts which have come and gone in less than a year, driven by low visibility and a lack of a following. Fortunately, Arepas & Co. has brought a following of its own to the spot, with a location set up in Second Street Market downtown, selling its Colombian comfort food, quick dishes with Latin American ingredients that can be made to go.
- Arepas: What’s an arepa, you ask? Actually, it’s sort of like a sandwich. Arepas uses a choclo (Peruvian corn)-based tortilla filled with meat, cheese and veggies; I preferred the pork, with some black beans, a crumbly queso, and sauce. It’s a convenient finger food and the ingredients are relatively healthy, too, making it a chance to grab something you’ve never tried before and really get to enjoy it.
- Arepa de choclo: This arepa comes with the kind of meat and protein you like and topped with cheese. A customized sandwich. The arepa itself is pretty sweet, owing to the corn.
- Choclofast: Something of a Colombian breakfast sandwich, this arepa is topped with a sausage, rosada sauce and a fried egg. Delicious at any time of the day.
- Fried plantains: While I was there, I couldn’t resist…I grabbed some fried plantains, too. Those, of course, are a kind of savory banana often eaten in Cuba and around the Caribbean, topped with just a little bit of salt and, to offset the sweetness, a light sauce made of pineapple. It’s an unusual side dish, indeed!
Latin American cuisine has many familiar ingredients but the end results are very different, the fried plantains (patacones) can be the basis of a dish with meat, beans and cheese. There are also empanadas, the familiar fritters, which make a savory meal, too.
The staff here is great, very friendly, and it’s apparent as soon as you set foot in the spot that it’s well thought-out. The Kettering location isn’t large, it only seats 20 or so people, but it also has a big porch and it’s pretty easy to grab food there and go. In all, this is the kind of place you can go where you won’t recognize anything on the menu, though the ingredients for the dishes are familiar. The result, though, a delicious and very unique set of flavors. It’s great to see this spot in Dayton.
- Arepas has a spot in downtown Dayton’s Second Street Market, and a spot in the south suburb of Kettering now.
- The food at Arepas can be made to go, which is how people seem to prefer it.
- I like the arepa dish, and I recommend the fried plantains, too.