One of the coolest things about Roosevelt Avenue during the World Cup is the team spirit and national pride that pervades the street. The air crackles with energy, particularly after a win. And on Saturday, Colombia won, and they won big. It was the first time that the national team made it this far, and folks in the street were partying like it too, dancing and waving flags until late into the night. Saturday also marked a monumental win for Colombian street food. The family of The Arepa Lady, the patron saint of Colombian street food in Jackson Heights, opened the doors to their restaurant.
I like to think that this street food dream team’s opening helped buoy team spirit back home. I know it buoyed my spirits. Ever since I heard several months ago that there was going to be an Arepa Lady restaurant, I’ve been watching the space with eager anticipation.
The arepa de choclo I had Saturday night was as good as ever. Cheesy, salty gooey, and thoroughly satisfying, seasoned with a goodly amount of national pride. Her son Alejandro told me he’s made up Arepa Lady t-shirts, but on Saturday every single person in the tiny restaurant except me was rocking a Colombian soccer jersey.
As her family started to take over and make use of social media, it became easier to find the mysterious Arepa Lady and her glorious Colombian street food. Still though, the stand was usually open only on weekends, and hardly ever during winter. So I’m psyched that this street food O.G.—original grandma—has gone brick and mortar.
Arepa Lady, 77-02AA Roosevelt Ave., Jackson Heights