WEPA! Cocina de Puerto Rico has opened in St. Petersburg’s Warehouse Arts District, says Jean Totti, owner and Puerto Rico native.
A celebration of Puerto Rican cuisine, WEPA! is located on 22nd Street South at 2149 3rd Ave. South. It seats up to 30 people in the dining room and 24 in the pet friendly patio. It operates from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. serving lunch and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for dinner. It is closed on Mondays.
The concept is authentic Puerto Rican cuisine, says Totti, who was born and raised in Puerto Rico. Menu items include traditional island recipes and handwritten recipes going back three generations reflecting his Spanish and French family background.
“WEPA! (pronounced Weh-pah) is a word of jubilation commonly used by Puerto Ricans,” Totti adds. “The word is used especially as something is celebrated.”
“Working with these recipes for months, we’ve selected a range of dishes that will represent our culinary history,” Totti says. “Each menu item is made to order.” No reservations are accepted, but you can call ahead for groups of eight people or more.
The kitchen staff includes two Puerto Rican culinary arts students who are sharing their firsthand knowledge of Puerto Rican food.
Diners can experience street foods known as ”picadera.” In addition, traditional menu items include Masitas de Cerdo, Mofongo, Pernil, and Chicharrones de Pollo from the island. Specials such as Paella and Pasteles will also be offered.