SOMERVILLE – Even at only five years old, Somerville’s Aeronaut Brewing Co. has earned a rightful name for itself in the constantly shifting world of New England craft beer; no small feat in a sphere occupied by the likes of Night Shift, Jack’s Abby and Goose Island. They’re not the first and they’re certainly not the largest—their annual production is only 4,000 barrels a year. But they have heart. They have passion. And they’ve caused more than just a few people to reevaluate Union Square since they opened their taproom in 2014.
But like many other local taprooms, they don’t have food service. And if you think that’s due to licensing restrictions, you are correct. Like many other cities in the greater Boston area, the number of licenses to operate full scale food service in Somerville have been historically limited—and both approval and loopholes have always been a mystery.
In the past, businesses have skirted around this by encouraging BYOB service and delivery. Aeronaut thinks a little differently. They began hosting local merchants as part of their Foods Hub exchange as far back as 2015 by partnering with Tasting Counter. But a nine-course fine dining tasting menu prepared by a former Four Seasons chef isn’t something that anyone—on any planet—thinks of when they hear “merchant exchange” and “brewery” in the same sentence. They’ve expanded to the likes of Somerville Chocolates but again... you can’t survive on chocolate and beer alone. Lord knows, I’ve tried. It isn’t pretty. What’s left for an enterprising merchant to offer when setting up shop in a city recently ranked the top city in the U.S. to open a brewery?
Venezuelan food. More specifically, arepas.
Aeronaut announced in an Instagram post earlier this week that Carolicious, a former pop up vendor started by Carolina Garcia and Carolina Salinas, would be joining the Foods Hub exchange starting Thursday, August 29th.
“We’ve got company,” read the post. “We are so excited to announce that our longtime friends (and previous taproom pop-up vendors) @carolicious424 will be opening their first-ever restaurant in our foods hub space! Come by for fresh & authentic Venezuelan cuisine, served by two of the kindest ladies we know!”
Is Boston already full to bursting with Venezuelan food? Not exactly. There’s Orinoco, a few places out in East Boston and Everett and… that’s about it. More importantly, is Somerville oversaturated with Venezuelan food? Not even close. But it should be. Especially street food!
Arepas sound simple. They’re griddle cakes made out of cornmeal and filled with the toppings of your choice. In fact, they’re so simple to make you will invariably mess it up no matter how hard you try. I speak from experience. It’s not pretty. It’s an art form better left to experts; and from the love their Instagram page seems to get, it appears Carolicious may just be masters of it.
“As a pop-up food vendor here a few years back, the Carolinas became beloved members of the Aeronaut community,” said Aeronaut founder Ronn Friedlander in a press release. “It’s been a shared goal to have Carolicious open a restaurant in our Foods Hub ever since. We are so excited to see this finally come to fruition.”