Husband-and-wife owners Kharim Rincon and Maria Uzcategui make seriously hearty arepas. The corn cakes come off the griddle crisp and thin before being split and stuffed with so much meat, cheese, and other stuff that you practically have to unhinge your jaw to take a bite. Of the nearly two dozen variations, the best is the Pabellón ($8), filled with juicy shredded beef, black beans, sweet plantains, and enough melty cheese to keep everything together. The more austere Tropical ($9) pairs beef or shredded chicken with lettuce, tomato, and avocado. Add a dose of creamy garlic sauce—bottles of it are on every table—to give the chicken some moisture. And let Maria talk you into a side of the stretchy fried cheese sticks called tequeños ($6.50). She loves chatting with her guests: At Rica Arepa, we’re all panas (that’s Venezuelan slang for friends).

4253 W. Armitage Ave.