Authentic Venezuelan Food Only A Mile Away


La Taguara

Patacon is one of the lunch specials at La Taguara

Mary Joan Nastri, Staff Writer

The Fall Semester of 2016 is coming soon, and you know you will be busy with study groups, classes, and homework. But, before you call that fast food joint that delivers fast, consider a fresh, flavorful, made from scratch arepa from La Taguara.

La Taguara is a Venezuelan restaurant that makes amazingly tasty sandwiches. You may be asking yourself, what’s an arepa? Well, it’s a corn tortilla pocket, stuffed with meats and veggies of your choice and it’s only $4.99!

However, be warned you’re going to need lots of napkins because the sandwiches are quite generous in size. The restaurant is a little less than a mile long walk from Truax Campus. So, you won’t need to lose that prized parking spot to get here and you can get your exercise for the day.

The affable, energetic owner, Jekyll Badell, is all over the restaurant checking the quality of the food and mingling with the customers. The dining room is not over-the-top-fancy, but there are warm, bright colors coupled with a welcoming staff that makes you feel like your dining in the comfort of your own home. Badell makes sure that he doesn’t use any pre-shredded meats, or canned beans. He even soaks his beans overnight and shreds the meat himself.

Many people might feel intimidated by some of the dish’s names, but Badell guides his customers into trying the most popular dishes, such as the Pabellon, the national dish of Venezuela, or the Cachapa, a delightful cake of corn, cheese, and pork.

If you return, and you will, he’ll then suggest the next level of dishes to try. One lunch special is a Patacon, a gigantic sandwich between two crisp slices of plantain. The mellow, buttery taste of the plantain gives this sandwich its unique taste and is incredibly satisfying. Almost everything on the menu is satisfying and made from fresh, quality ingredients.

La Taguara won the best vegetarian dish, the Cachapa, at the pre-judging for the Taste of Madison coming this Labor Day weekend.

Badell has worked at many restaurants throughout Madison. He was general manager at UNO’s Pizzeria. However, after eight years, he didn’t feel the point of working for someone else and decided to open his very own restaurant here in Madison. I, for one, am grateful that he did.