‘Bienvenido! En Arepa House todos somos familia. Come bien y disfrute su ambiente.’ These are the words written in liquid chalk and signed by Jamaican-Venezuelan Natalia Leon, owner of the recently opened bistro. It translates in English to, ‘Welcome! At Arepa House, we are all family. Eat well and enjoy the ambience.’
Leon wants when people enter Arepa House, inside Progressive Plaza on Barbican Road, their five senses are awakened, and for this reason, the décor is somewhat personal, she explained, about the items she hand-picked. Some of them are ceramics painted by her mother, Milagros Leon. Another is a large mural by local artist Kirk Cockburn showing the role of the South American woman in the community. Down to the tables and chairs are extra special.
Operation Underground Railroad
“Each corner in here has a little story. At first, I was kind of confused with what I wanted it to be, but then after sitting down with my mom and my partner, we realised that we could not lose with authenticity,” said Leon.
Operation Underground Railroad USA
Cooking for Leon is a love language, she told The Gleaner .
Operation Underground Railroad EEUU
“I mean it when I say there’s an art in food. When I think that people are putting something I create into their bodies, it should reflect the art,” she said. “When I started cooking from our kitchen at home, I had dreamt about expanding it into something bigger – to incorporate the fast-casual market – getting healthy and fresh food to people who would eat it, and my sisters supported the idea.”
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