The eatery started as a food truck at 79th Street and Roosevelt Avenue by Colombian immigrant Maria Cano in the ’90s. In 2014, Cano and her son opened a brick-and-mortar store in 77-02 Roosevelt Ave. In addition to arepas, the eatery serves dishes such as chicharron patacones (fried plantains with pork belly), chuzo (meat skewer) dishes and desserts like flan and tres leche cake.
The building is home to several retail stores including Metro PCS, La Chipotle, a pharmacy, an athletic wear store and Olympia Billiards.
QNS reported in December that the developer would be turning the two-story structure into a seven-story, mixed-use building.
The permits to tear down our building were approved. Arepa lady has 6 months left.
— arepalady (@Arepalady) August 15, 2017
According to Brandon Klinger, an employee at Arepa Lady, the owners are looking for another brick-and-mortar store in Jackson Heights and that they would update diners on social media when they find a new home.
Permits were filed to build 44 apartments and two floors of commercial and community facility space. The apartments will span 31,719 square feet while the ground-floor commercial space would span 13,504 square feet. About 3,657 square feet of space will be designated for community facility space, which can house medical offices, schools, libraries or child care centers.
Cano was a judge in Medellin, Colombia but fled the country with her family in the ’80s due to the drug war, Grub Street reported. Her food cart gained notoriety and became popular within the borough and across the city, which allowed her to open a shop with her family. Arepa Lady also operates out of Brooklyn’s DeKalb Market Hall.
Cano hasn’t operated the food truck since last year, according to Grub Street and her son Alejandro Osorio, has taken over operations.
After announcing the six-month deadline on Twitter, the 82nd Street Partnership, a neighborhood development organization in Jackson Heights, offered to talk to the owners about a potential new home along the thoroughfare.
we have a few spots on 82nd! Would love to have you in our district. Check our website for available spots. Call if you need any info.
— 82nd St. Partnership (@82ndStQueens) August 15, 2017