Owning a successful business is the dream that brings more than one million people to the United States every year.* Blanca Mata, a Columbian-born American, is one such entrepreneur. She owns the bustling Arepas and More Café in Orlando, Florida. Her restaurant specializes in arepas, filled flatbread sandwiches prominent in Venezuelan cuisine.
With the sound of clinking dishes and cheerful conversation in the background and her good friend Maypias Atencio translating, Blanca described her move to Florida from Venezuela. Six years before, she moved from Columbia to Venezuela, where she and her husband Hector owned and managed a café serving traditional food.
“The economy got bad,” she told us. Blanca and Hector immigrated to Florida. Blanca was able to secure a location for the cafe just five minutes from downtown Orlando. The Arepas and More Café has a colorful menu, featuring Cuban sandwiches, fried plantains, tamale hallacas, omelets, and plantain postones, in addition to the signature arepas, and offer catering services.
Maypias said Blanca feels honored to have met many well-to-do professional people in Orlando who frequent the restaurant She also gives food to those who are down on their luck.
Blanca said she is living the American dream. “I feel I have reached that goal with my own restaurant. I am happy. I cannot complain. Thank you to everyone who has come here,” she said, “and if you haven’t been here, come in and give it a try!”
Learn more at arepasandmore.com