When Victor Aguilera found that he had been laid off from his restaurant job, along with thousands of other service industry workers around San Francisco, he saw an opportunity. He would try out his hand at cooking the cuisine of his native Venezuela — and finally start his own business.
Aguilera opened Arepas en Bici around two weeks ago. Aguilera makes the arepas, as well as various other Venezuelan dishes, entirely by hand in his apartment and then delivers them around the city on his bike. He sticks mostly with traditional fillings like shredded steak and chicken, black beans, avocado, and plantains.
It’s scary to be laid off, but Aguilera has a surprisingly optimistic outlook on this life-changing event: He told Eater that starting his own arepa business is “something I’ve been wanting to do my whole life.”
Interested customers can text their orders to 415-660-0303, and Aguilera makes delivery runs between noon and 6:00 PM every day. He’s the only delivery man, and he shuttles the arepas around on his bike. He’s also open to takeout orders. Aguilera is civic-minded, too: He’s offered to deliver a few plain arepas to anyone who can’t afford a meal right now.
Ordering from Aguilera is one of the best ways San Francisco residents can support service industry workers who are out of work right now. After all, you can be sure that all the profits from your order go straight to supporting the “one-man arepa bike operation,” as Eater calls Aguilera’s business.
So far, Arepas en Bici has proved to be a hit: One customer ordered 50 tequeños (breaded and fried cheese sticks), and Aguilera told Eater he’s sometimes up until 3:00 AM prepping the following day’s orders. Its success so far has inspired him to keep the business running (and to make it official) once the pandemic has eased. His dream is to expand Arepas en Bici into a catering company.