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Avanti Restaurant Preview: Quiero Arepas

One of the seven eateries at the new Avanti Food & Beverage

Arepas

Avanti Food & Beverage {3200 Pecos Street, Denver; 303.422.1121} is now open, bringing its ingenious concept of a spacious and scenic hub for great eats, drinks, and Dogfish  Head beer to the Lower Highlands. Within, seven food concepts inhabit shipping containers tucked inside the industrial, warehouse-style space. Avanti hopes to serve as an incubator for these eateries by giving new or emerging restaurateurs the opportunity to test their concepts without the high costs of brick-and-mortar space.

Here’s a peek at one of the Avanti restaurant concepts: Quiero Arepas, specializing in Venezuelan-style arepas–corn-based flatbreads grilled and filled–from one of the top food trucks in the world according to Expedia.

Quiero Arepas

Photo Credit: Anne Barhyte

Why Quiero is excited to join Avanti: Beckie and Igor Panasewicz–the husband-and-wife team behind Quiero–first met Brad Arguello–one of Avanti’s three partners and owner of Über Sausage–during the first wave of food trucks in Denver. The year was 2010 and the trio hit it off at the Cherry Creek Farmer’s Market, where they all docked to sling food, along with Brava! Pizzeriz and Pinche Taqueria food trucks, too.

When Brad decided to launch Avanti, he invited his old food truck pals to be a part of it. “My goodness, talk about a full circle moment,” Beckie says.

Beyond Avanti: The concept began as a way for Beckie and Igor to spend more time together, and do what they love most: cook. They couple loves throwing dinner parties, wherein Igor–who grew up in Venezuela–would prepare his famous arepas. Their guests had never heard of arepas before and they were so excited to try them. And so, just six months after their wedding, Beckie and Igor decided to start Quiero Arepas. 

Every single arepa from Quiero passes through either Igor or Beckie’s hands at some point, and they like it that way. Their passion is for cooking, not for management. It follows then that Beckie and Igor are not scheming to take over the world with their delicious arepas.

Arepa

The El Caribe: locally smoked salmon, capers, avocado, queso enchilado, and guasacaca–Quiero’s addictive housemade vegan sauce that goes on all arepas. Photo Credit: Marc Piscotty.

The eats: Igor and Beckie are excited to be able to play more with their menu and offer more than the core five arepas they always offer. While the couple are vegetarians, no one doubts their meat-prepared creds with offerings like the Pabellon Arepa–Venezuela’s national dish featuring shredded beef. Here are a few other highlights you might find at Quiero’s Avanti outpost.

  • More vegan offerings, like the Reina Pepiada, with a cold “chicken” salad made of chickpeas with avocado–soy-free and gluten-free, to boot.
  • Fried plantains
  • Fresh-cracked coconut–peer into their shipping container to watch them do it. Igor no longer uses a machete since they’ve invested in a Coco Jack, a tool designed specifically for opening a coconut.
  • Natural fresh juices

Dogfish Head pairing: We like the Pabellon with the Palo Santo Marron, a strong brown ale with notes of caramel and vanilla.

Where else to find Quiero: Track down the Quiero Arepas truck with their schedule–they’re regulars at Civic Center Eats.