Arepa Lady Opening Shop on Roosevelt Avenue
JACKSON HEIGHTS — The legendary "Arepa Lady" is preparing to open a brick-and-mortar store in the neighborhood that should be ready in the spring, according to a report and the chef's official Twitter account.
Serious Eats reported Wednesday that Maria Cano and her family are renovating a space on 77th Street and Roosevelt Avenue.
It's just blocks away from where she usually parks her cart on 79th Street, from which she sells the cheese-filled cornmeal snacks that she's known for in the neighborhood.
The family's Twitter account also sent out a photo of the unfinished space earlier this week.
Cano's arepa truck is only open from April through October, and her son Alejandro told Serious Eats he and his family couldn't quit their jobs "for something temporary."
"We want to help my mom more, and the only way to do that is with a permanent location," he said.
Her son said they will open the store but continue operating the cart nearby as well.
Cano is usually found hawking the cheese-filled snacks on Roosevelt Avenue when the weather is warm, and is a legend in the city's street food scene.
Local food expert Jeff Orlick said Cano, who he called a "shining star" and an example to street vendors and other small businesses, will help boost Roosevelt Avenue's economy with the shop.
"Vendors like the Arepa Lady are the past, present and future of NYC and too many people forget about this," he said.
"The Arepa Lady is the job creator."