All of Minneapolis is abuzz: One of our most beloved food trucks, Hola Arepa, of the delicate and whomping good arepas and frisky craft-cocktail influenced lemonades, is going brick and mortar. But this just in: They’re going brick and mortar in a really big way, with a 60-seat restaurant and 40-seat patio directly across the street from Pat’s Tap, in the old El Paraiso spot at 3501 Nicollet.
That’s a big restaurant! “It’s pretty big, but I think it will be just the right size for us,” Christina Nguyen told me. Nguyen, who co-owns the bright blue truck with Birk Grudem, told me they have big plans: Table service, a full cocktail program with some top-secret elements never before seen in Twin Cities cocktail life (Grudem has a background mixing drinks at Bradstreet Craftshouse, so I believe it. Classic South American cocktails are a world little explored here—will there be a pisco focus? Wait and see!) The menu will probably have nine or ten arepas at all time, as well as seven or eight seasonal small plates and salads, as well as desserts, says Nguyen, and will serve dinner, brunch, and possibly lunch.
Time frame? Soon! “We’ve been working on this all winter,” says Nguyen, so they have a jump on contractors and licensing, they will start to paint the walls and rip up the tiles this week, in hopes for a late April or May opening. “We just really want to get open before patio and food truck season,” she says.
I think I speak for all Minneapolis when I say we’re all waiting for patio season to start—and now it will be that much sweeter.