NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — There are many local restaurants in Central City where you can grab a quick bite. Whatever you are craving, you are sure to find something that satisfies your tastebuds.

There is one restaurant located right at the corner of Carondelet and Clio Street where you can get a taste of authentic Colombian cuisine. David Mantilla, the owner of the restaurant called Mais Arepas, said he wanted to bring a piece of where he comes from to his new home in Louisiana.

Growing up in Cali Colombia he always had big dreams. When he was younger, he always thought he would become a doctor in his hometown. As he got older, when he was in high school he decided he wanted to have a better life in America. “I moved to the US in 1999 that’s a long time ago. I had family living in Miami and I moved to the country for a better quality of life,” said Mantilla.

Although it was difficult for him to leave friends and family behind in Colombia he said he felt like it was something he had to do. He packed his bags and moved to Miami. After living in different places around the U.S he found New Orleans.

Mantilla said he fell in love with the city and knew he could call it home. It wasn’t until after Hurricane Katrina that he found his passion for food and serving the community. “Deep inside I always wanted to bring what the essence of Colombian cuisine is,” said Mantilla.

He wanted to share something that every Colombian enjoys eating which is the arepa. An arepa is described to be similar to ‘stuffed cornmeal cakes.

“It’s a staple of the restaurant it’s something that I have been eating since I was little something since I was born. It’s something that every household in Colombia is used to eating every day.”  He hopes every household in New Orleans will have a chance to try them.

Anyone interested in trying them out, or other Colombian dishes can visit Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 pm to 10 pm or visit on Sunday from 5 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.

Be sure to check out our Hispanic Heritage Special!

  • Friday, October 14 at 6:30 p.m. on WGNO
  • Saturday, October 15 at 9:30 p.m. on NOLA-38