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Braised Meats and Rum Drinks Are Headed to Bethesda

New Tacoarepa focuses on tropical beverages and street food

Newcomer Tacoarepa is moving into the space formerly occupied by Fresh Grill.
Photo by Julie T. / Yelp

Eater previously reported on the impending arrival of Latin American mash-up Tacoarepa. Today chef and co-founder Alonso Roche shares additional details about the Caribbean-themed food and drinks he’s building into the menu.

“It’s all about going back to childhood,” Roche says, citing the sailing trips his father used to take him on through the islands as inspiration for the new quick-service eatery. The focus will be on braised meats; Roche lists Cuban-style pork with mojo, traditional Venezuelan shredded beef, curry-coconut chicken, and stewed mahi mahi as leading contenders.

Potential sides include fried plain chips (tostones), yuca fries, and “killer nachos” featuring pulled pork. Roche bills arepas — fried corn cakes enjoyed throughout Venezuela — and tacos as “the perfect vessels” for the current build-your-own dining trend. He’s adding in bowls for the sake of variety and because consumers are familiar with customizing orders that way.

“We may put a tostada in there,” Roches says of the still-evolving menu.

The bar is expected to spin out assorted rum drinks, including classic cocktails (Cuba Libre, Guarapita, rum and tonic) and seasonal punches.

In terms of atmosphere, Roche wants to capture the feel of communal gathering places such as the popular Conejeros Market on Margarita Island. A “food stand, street-food” vibe is how he describes his vision for the 1,400-square-foot space and adjoining patio his team is working to open this October.

Roche also operates local chainlet Bold Bite (gourmet hot dogs and burgers), 202 Donuts (coffee and doughnuts), and neighboring Tapabar (Spanish cuisine), but warns not to expect any crossover from those other properties at Tacoarepa.

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