Adobera Arepa with queso fresco, black bean spread, avocado and pickled jalapenos (Image from @centavonyc)

The nights are drawing in, the temperature’s gradually dropping and it’s starting to be hands in pockets weather – but we’re not talking coat pockets – oh no – we’re talking yummy little stuffed arepa pockets!

A brand new weekly pop-up at Brooklyn Safehouse is bringing delicious arepas to Franklin street every Wednesday night. The pop-up is called Centavo, and is run by trio of friends John Monastero, Mike Lee and Mary O’Reilly, who are taking of advantage of cozy season to roll out an inventive menu of comforting hand-held treats to hungry bar-dwellers.

Arepa dream team John Monastero, Mary O’Reilly and Mike Lee

Whilst the friends make it clear they are not professional chefs (all have day jobs in unrelated fields), Mike did in fact study at the Culinary Institute of America and, after tasting their alluring menu, it’s clear that the trio obviously know a thing or two about flavor!

When we visited for dinner last week I’m not ashamed to say that we tried one of everything. We started with chips and spicy housemade salsa, then split each of the three savory arepa options. A New Orleans BBQ Shrimp arepa came with avocado and scallions and had a lovely heat to it. The Adobera combined queso fresco with black bean spread, avocado and pickled jalapenos, while the Vegetable Korma version, with mixed veg and paneer in a creamy cilantro sauce, was perfect for a cold, rainy night.

Who said arepas need to be savory? (Image from @centavonyc)

The arepas themselves were delightfully warm and fluffy, and went down a treat with $5 bottles of cider from the bar. We rounded things off with the Centavo twist on Strawberry Shortcake, an arepa split in two and smothered in Nutella, strawberries and sweet homemade ricotta. Although each serving looks fairly modest, the arepas are surprisingly filling and four were more than enough for two hungry gals.


The Centavo team are constantly adjusting their menu and arepa contents will change depending on seasonal availability. Brooklyn Safehouse stopped serving a regular food menu some time ago, so this new pop-up is the perfect opportunity for mid-week drinkers to make sure they get a little sustenance with their beer.

Centavo happens every Wednesday at Brooklyn Safehouse from 7-12am.
Brooklyn Safehouse is at 120 Franklin Street, Greenpoint.

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