I’ve been working in the upper part of Midtown East for over 4 years and it is no secret that quick service lunch places are hard to come by, especially those that have healthy options. There are a few go-to spots that have become my routine cuisine in addition to my Whole Foods addition, but it becomes repetitive.
When Areppas opened on 57th and 3rd just over a year ago with the tagline “Healthier Foods for a Healthier Mind”, I was more than excited to pry myself away from the desk to give it a whirl. Now the fresh, wholesome fast-casual eatery has earned a spot in my lunch line-up.
The Venezuelan establishment serves quality artisan grains, proteins and seasonal ingredients at both the Midtown East brick and mortar and a food cart around town. The chefs have perfected their signature arepas which include The Uptown (Verde Arepa + Pulled Pork + Avocado + Lettuce + Tomato + Jalapeño,) The Midtown (Blanca Arepa + Grilled Chicken + Avocado + Cheddar Cheese + Lettuce + Tomato) and my personal favorite, The Downtown (Sol Arepa + Short Rib + De Mano Cheese).
The option to create your own allows vegans, carnivores, omnivores, vegetarians and any other type of eater to find their beat. Arepa options such as Verde (cilantro, parsley & lime masa), Roja (beet masa), Sol (orange lentils & carrots masa) or the classic Blanca (masa) and fill it to the brim with meat, veggies, cheese and sauces. Don’t expect a flimsy Arepa, either. These hand-made pouches are a bit thinner than traditional, yet still sturdy, lighter and fluffy with a nice crisp outside.
New this year are bowls and salad options with the same fresh ingredient, just on the healthier side. Also on the menu are Empanadas, Cachapas (Guayanes Cheese + Nata + Butter), Tequeño (cheese sticks), lentil salad and carrot salad. For those looking for a liquid lunch, grab one of the four freshly made 16 oz. juices — Green Powers, Down Detox, Perfect Vision and Pina Bonita.
Areppas was born out of Celestino Diaz’s desire to pay homage to his pay homage to his Venezualan background with a cultural staple. An immigrant success story, Diaz was born in Caracas and came to America in 2004 with his family in search for a better life. Twelve years later his dream has come true with the restaurant which he runs alongside his wife Brooke Carrie Hil. They are also both devoted to giving back to the children of Latin America through the UNA X UNA nonprofit. Every meal sold at Areppas goes towards the program and thus far over 40,000 kids have received meals.
– Lauren Wire
954 3rd Avenue
at 57th Street
Photos via Areppas and by Socially Superlative