Amaize, a Venezuelan-inspired arepa bar, is now open in Aventura. The debut marks the concept's fourth location, and a fifth is expected to open before year's end in the food court at Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise.
The fast-casual restaurant specializes in customizable arepas — lightly grilled cornmeal pockets stuffed with almost every ingredient imaginable. Options include eggs, cheese, and veggies for breakfast, and tofu, pulled beef, black beans, and shredded white cheese for lunch and dinner.
Like the brand's locations in Doral, Miami Lakes, and Davie, Amaize Aventura allows guests to choose their ingredients, similar to Chipotle's customization process.
"Aventura is a good fit demographically for our concept," CEO Rene Prats says. "It's an affluent area in need of Latin flavors."
Best-selling combinations include the Shaggy, filled with shredded beef and Gouda cheese; the Beauty Queen, with avocado chicken salad; and the traditional cachapa, layered with warm queso blanco. Vegans can try the portobello-tofu arepa with truffle oil. Items average $6 to $10.
"Move over, tacos and burritos," Prats jokes. "Arepas are the new handheld favorite."
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Bowls are also available. A choice of ingredients — such as rice, beans, and meat — are served solo or with an arepa on the side. In addition, Amaize serves all-day breakfast arepas, loaded with scrambled eggs, veggies, cheese, and bacon.
As for dessert, smear a cachapa with Nutella, dulce de leche, cream, or bananas and strawberries. Or opt for flan or tres leches.
As the Aventura location settles in, Amaize is expected to relaunch its Davie location Saturday, October 13. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the first 400 people will receive free arepas, soda, coffee, and beer. The event is free for those who RSVP via amaizedavie.eventbrite.com.
Amaize Aventura. 19129 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura; 786-279-2260; amaizeyou.com. 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 8 a.m. to Thursday through Saturday.