ELSY RODRÍGUEZ and ANTONIO GUTIÉRREZ might be new to the Portland Mercado, but Portland has been home since 2007. They run La Arepa's two carts with their daughter VERÓNICA and her husband YEAN.

La Arepa is a true success story. Having arrived in Portland on the eve of the 2008 economic recession, the founders couldn't find work in their professions (industrial engineering and journalism). With guidance from family back home in the restaurant industry and technical assistance from the organization Easterseals, the family transformed a hobby into a thriving business.

The owners of La Arepa are pioneers. Their menu has many iconic dishes that represent different regions, such as the national dish pabellón criollo – Isla de Margarita style – patacones from Zulia state, and nine types of arepas that all have a unique story behind each of them.

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