I moved into a building on Manhattan ave in greenpoint six years ago, the space below my apartment was occupied by a furrier. he would sit outside in a folding lawn chair wearing a full indian head dress and discriminatorily peddle his pelts for astronomical prices. it was evident that more so than the quality of the goods, it was his pride mostly that called for the up-charge. I heard that the last few months of his lease (or his life?) he was paying his rent in furs. which makes me think that at least for one month, i should offer my cat as payment. (one alive in the bush is worth two on the hanger, as they say!) the manhattan furrier was the last business with integrity that i saw occupy this space. although his furs were pricey and fairly outdated, and his shop seemingly ridden with local pests that inevitably come with a shop piled high with dust and old animal hides and a relatively unattentive owner. he had something in him that despite the lack of business entering and exiting his shop with a new coat, you understood why his business lasted so long, why he was able to open his doors every (or most!) days. he had that relentless new york drive that translates into success. it wasn’t cheap or easy or necessarily sensible but it also wasn’t dubai’s famous candies or the laser hair removal place across the street. it was honest and it was good and it was what he knew and thus what he did.
and it was the last honest business i saw inhabit this space.
the furrier’s shop was eventually cleaned out and rennovated (sheeeesh.) and a few places have been in and back out again. even passing every day i hardly noticed them. and then, finally one day, i something stood out. i road my bike past as a family worked to renovate the former Vietnamese sandwich shop and make it their own.
and when finally the A+ Lollipop sign was taken down, it’s replacement shown brightly announcing the opening of Avila,
brooklyn’s new home for arepas y comida venezolano and as I learned, that was only the tip of the mountain. (as they say?)
brothers allan and frambel (a name that combines the first part of both his father and mothers names… why don’t we do that here? i’d be rostee. which is SO dope.) wanted to open a business in new york, and venezuelan food is undeniably what they do best. they chose greenpoint for the same reason i did- the neighborhood seemed fresh and diverse, the energy young and creative. and with a little bit of a bold competitive edge, they placed their shop on Manhattan ave, a street where they recognized the challenge of this location, with so many standout bars and restaurants. and theirs now stands out among them.
this is simply because their idea, along with their flavor, stands out. More than a restaurant, it’s also the only gallery space dedicated to venezuelan artists. the day i popped in they were hosting an event for directors and artists from the venezuelan film festival, in its 3rd year in new york. the walls were adorned with the work of Alberto reira, a series he did inspired by the new york subway. just stepping inside this space fills you with a rich pride for their country and also alive with neighborhood charm.
They host parties and events, gallery openings, discussions, mostly centered around the Venezuelan community, which is so vitally important given the current turmoil their country is in. they wanted to serve the Venezuelan community here while serving our community Venezuelan food. their passion and drive is palpable, and I haven’t even gotten to the arepas yet.
These are the house specialty, all family recipes, all made in house. The bread, ground and mixed and folded and grilled to perfection and filled with meats and veggies and beans and cheese and egg and…
todo como tu quieres.
In a neighborhood that seemingly has everything, in reality this is what greenpoint needed. we have been spoiled by newcomers cherry point and Baoburg. we have relied on and been relentlessly charmed by new classics sauvage and amami sushi and relied so many times on neighborhood mainstays five leaves and calexico. (all of those places are within 2 blocks of my house. goddamn i love greenpoint) but to have a quick in-and-out spot that serves honest fresh food and provides a incomparable glimpse into a land and a culture and a people so beautiful and pure, that is doing good and making good and folding it all up con cuidado in a handmade corn pillow is just the warm embrace we were searching for. and so let’s embrace it.
what not to miss
the pabellon or the llanera, all day, everyday. and the americana for breakfast.
they don’t serve alcohol, but if you live upstairs they’ll often slip you a cup of Venezuelan run con lima with a wink.
how not to miss it
685 manhattan ave.
10am-10pm errrryday (but monday!)
arep-ah! i hardly knew her!