By Maria Fernanda Cabezas

Who invented the Reina Pepiada? - The Arepera Hermanos Alvarez

Once upon a time, a family of 8 siblings and their single mother relocated from the Andean state of Trujillo to the capital of Venezuela, Caracas. In their effort to support the family, the two older sons, known as the Alvarez Brothers, opened a restaurant in Sabana Grande (a popular boulevard in Caracas). Their innovation was offering Arepas with the most outlandish filling combinations that no one had ever dared to try before and naming them with the most witty names they could think of. They called the arepas “tostadas” (or TOAST😉) which was also how people from Trujillo used to refer to filled arepas.

Very soon after, their revolutionary idea became trendy and the business started to prosper. At one point it became the most successful “Arepera” chain in Caracas during the 1950s. Consequently, other arepa establishments started to open around the city, but the Alvarez brothers popularized the concept of the “Arepera”, and played a big role in popularizing the dish.

Some of their most famous recipes were: The “Pelua”, the “Catira”, the “Sifrina”; and their most popular creation, now a staple of Venezuelan cuisine: “The Reina Pepiada”, named after the Beauty Queen Susana Duijm who once visited the restaurant as did many other celebrities at the time.

This is a story of personal advancement and innovation. It is proof that using creativity can help you progress and get ahead in life. These brothers from an underprivileged background became successful by using their ingenuity and by working hard at what they were passionate about. So many other Venezuelans have followed in their footsteps having emigrated to other countries while making a living selling arepas, and have thus been spreading the love for arepas to new corners of the world💙.