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The Arepa Lady

Critic's Pick Critics' Pick

Roosevelt Ave. nr. 78th St., Jackson Heights, NY 11372 40.747289 -73.888164
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  • Cuisine: Food Cart, South American
  • Price Range: $

    Key to Prices and ratings

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  • Reader Rating:

    10 out of 10


    1 Reviews | Write a Review

Photo by Ben Stechschulte

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Official Website


Fri-Sat, 10pm-5am; Sun-Thu, closed

Nearby Subway Stops

7 at 74th St.-Broadway; E, F, M, R at Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Ave.



Payment Methods

Cash Only

Special Features

  • Breakfast
  • Late-Night Dining
  • Take-Out


  • No Alcohol


Not Accepted


Maria Piedad Cano might be New York's most revered street vendor. She’s a Chowhound cult favorite, a former lawyer and judge, she says, and, most telling, the subject of a MySpace page that forecasts the likelihood that she’ll be appearing at her regular spot each weekend. Her presence is iffy and weather-dependent; she winters in her native Colombia and reassumes her curbside position in spring, but only on Friday and Saturday nights and generally after ten o’clock. And for a former officer of the court, the once-permit-challenged corn-cake specialist hasn't always been a stickler for the letter of the law: When asked by why she works the graveyard shift, she replied, “Because there are fewer police walking around.” Still, faithful fans make the pilgrimage for her specialty: two types of ethereal Colombian arepas, brushed with margarine and griddled until brown and crispy. The arepa de queso is thicker and smaller, its soft insides infiltrated with melted cheese. The flatter, wider one, arepa de choclo, is made with a different corn batter and folded over salty grated cheese. There are skewered sausages and denser, smaller arepitas, too, but they’re not what’s earned the mild-mannered sidewalk chef her infatuated following, or the nickname “Sainted Arepa Lady.”

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