Restaurant News

Restaurant news: A South American restaurant is coming

aweigl@newsobserver.comNovember 29, 2012 

South American restaurant to open Monday in Raleigh

Guasaca, a new fast-casual South American restaurant, is slated to open Monday in the Marketplace at Lake Boone Trail.

The dining experience is similar to Chipotle, Moe’s or Qdoba Mexican Grill, says owner Heli Mendez, but the food is different.

Guasaca offers arepas, which are thick, round corn cakes similar to pita pockets that customers can choose to fill with a combination of meats, vegetables and sauces. The menu offers 24 ingredients to choose from including pork, shredded beef, grilled steak, tilapia, avocado chicken salad, black beans, plantains, coleslaw, black-eyed peas and more. You can choose the combination or pick from a selection of signature arepas. Or you can enjoy the combination in a bowl with lettuce or white and brown rice. They also offer vegan and vegetarian options.

Mendez says all their food is made fresh daily from scratch. They don’t use any processed food or pre-made ingredients. Prices range from $3.90 for a single grilled chicken arepa to about $9 for two arepas or a bowl plus a drink. The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. every day. It is located at 4025 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 107, next door to Bottle Revolution, a craft beer store.

Mendez, 37, is an economist and former grocery store owner from Venezuela who came to the United States 11 years ago. He runs the business with Orlando Escobar, who spent the last 10 years managing fast casual restaurants, and Jose Alvarez, a chef for 25 years in Venezuela.

For more information, go to or call 919-322-4928.

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