Check out Maize, OTR’s new Venezuelan restaurant: PHOTOS (Video)

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Over-the-Rhine’s newest restaurant, a Venezuelan joint with Caribbean flair, is now open in the former ZBGB Burgers and Bar space near Taft’s Ale House.

Maize Arepas and Bar opened at 1438 Race St. on July 14. It’s the creation of former Procter & Gamble logistics and financial coordinator turned marketer Angel Batista and Queen City Radio co-founder Louisa Reckman. Flip through the photos for a look inside.

Maize draws its influences primarily from Venezuelan and Puerto Rican cuisine. The concept was born in January as primarily Venezuelan, but Batista recognized the same African, Indian and Spanish influences that lived in the food of Venezuela in the Caribbean, so he decided to branch out and draw from that part of Latin America as well.

As the name implies, a good portion of Maize’s menu is corn-based and thus gluten-free. That includes a menu of empañadas stuffed with ingredients like shredded chicken tossed in sofrito, Caribbean-style shredded pork, Venezuelan-style shredded beef and Venezuelan hand cheese.

The menu also includes arepas and cachapas, similar dishes of corn cakes stuffed with ingredients. Arepas are corn cakes made with fresh corn that have a crisp outside and warm doughy center, while cachapas are made with fresh corn but can also include cornmeal and have sugar added to the batter.

The arepas and cachapas at Maize are filled with ingredients like avocado chicken salad with red onion, queso de mano and fresh cilantro; Caribbean-style shredded pork, avocado, cheddar, black beans and queso fresco; or Venezuelan-style shredded beef and queso de mano. All of those dishes are served with salsas like crema de cilantro, salsa de arbol, crema de pimientos dulce and gastrique de fresca.

Maize’s menu also heavily features plantains, like tostones or twice-fried green plantains stuffed with protein and cheese, or mariquitas, which are fried thin like a chip and used as a delivery device for the restaurant’s ceviche.

By Andy Brownfield  – Reporter, Cincinnati Business CourierJul 23, 2018, 10:39am EDT Updated Aug 6, 2018, 11:50am EDT