Caraotas, a new Venezuelan American restaurant, has opened on the corner of Irving Avenue and Stockholm Street in Bushwick.
Having launched just a little over two weeks ago at the end of July 2021, Caraotas is co-owned by manager Andy Vasquez and his good friend Cris Vasquez, a Venezuelan native and veteran chef of beloved Bushwick Basque Colombian eatery, Maite.
Named after the classic Venezuelan black bean dish, Caraotas boasts a varied menu that includes yuca fries, acai bowls, patacones and tequeños — fried breaded cheese sticks that you absolutely should try.
In addition to their fixed menu, the fusion restaurant offers a build-your-own-bowl experience, complete with a spread of rice, beans, meat, veggies, and sauces to choose from and customize as you wish. Vegans fret not; Caraotas also has an impossible burger and bowl option, too.
But their signature dish is one that Andy recommends as a must-have: the arepa burger.
“We actually based the concept of the arepa burger on a dish that my wife and I created together,” explains Andy. “My wife is Venezuelan, and I’m Dominican. I was in the kitchen making a burger, and she was making an arepa, and I was like, ‘How about we make an arepa burger? Let’s put the two together.’ I decided to open Caraotas shortly after that.”
According to Cris, another standout option if you’re in a sweeter mood is “absolutely the milkshakes. There’s nowhere in Bushwick with milkshakes like ours.”
Caraotas offers nine extravagantly layered milkshakes, all piled with a decadent variety of skewered confections, from chocolate-drizzled waffles to Peeps bunnies.
A standout shake aptly named Shrek the Third features pistachio ice cream, green whipped cream, and an entire chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich perched atop the lip of a mason jar rolled in green sprinkles.
With a bright, streamlined atmosphere, ample outdoor seating and a multicolored heart mural splashed across the facade of the building, Caraotas is a playful addition to the stretch it inhabits on Irving Avenue.
“The place is made with a lot of love,” says Andy. “As you can see in all of these hearts.” Underneath the window facing Irving are small painted letters spelling out “Nacho”.
Nacho is his dog’s name and, he continues, “My daughter’s name, Alana, is on the other side. She was born seven months ago. I wanted to pay tribute to them both.”
Andy emphasizes that he and Cris opened Caraotas with the intention of making it a space to not only find wonderful food but a sense of community as well. “We’re not just here to make business, we’re here to bring good vibes and support to the community of Bushwick in as many ways as we can.”
You can visit Caraotas at 162 Irving Ave. from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Mondays, as well as Wednesday through Sunday. Check out their Instagram for updates and their website for delivery and to-go orders.
All images courtesy of Caraotas.
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