Avila, a spot specializing in Venezuelan arepas, is now open in the French Quarter inside the rear of The Starlight, a bar and events space that opened earlier this year at 817 St. Louis St.
Avila is run by husband and wife team Harold and Monica Angola, both native Venezuelans. After operating as a pop-up for the last two months, they officially took over the space a few weeks ago. The short menu focuses on the South American street food standby. Fried arepas are filled with oozing cheese and other options including shredded beef, roasted pork, chicken, avocado, tomatoes, mushrooms and vegetables.
The menu also includes empanadas filled with beef, vegetables, chicken or cheese. Patacon is a sort a sandwich made with fried green plantains filled with meat and cheese or vegetables and salsa verde. Tequenos are the Venezuelan answer to fried cheese sticks.
The Starlight replaced Bar Mon Cher and occupies a two-story townhouse that dates back to 1779 and features much of the building’s original woodwork, a spiral staircase and several rooms in addition to the front parlor and bar. Owner Linda Novak was one of the original owners of Pal’s Lounge in Mid-City.
The Starlight presents live jazz, Americana, blues, burlesque and more. Performers have included Glen David Andrews, DJ Fayard, Amanda Walker, and Gal Holiday. Novak rents the space for private events.
The Starlight opens at 2 p.m. Avila is open from 6 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Sunday, and later on the weekends.
For more information, visit the Starlight website here.